Egypt has allowed just 100 of about 1,400 protesters to march into Gaza on Thursday to mark the first anniversary of Israel's three-week-long siege of the Palestinian territory. The 100 activists left for the Gaza Strip Wednesday morning.
AFP - One hundred international activists left Cairo on Wednesday for the Gaza Strip, after Egypt denied passage to another 1,200 who planned to march in solidarity with the besieged enclave's Palestinians.
"Two buses with 100 delegates on board left this morning for Gaza," Ann Wright, one of the organisers of the Gaza Freedom March, told AFP.
Egyptian authorities had banned the activists who have come to Cairo from 42 countries to take part in the march from entering the Gaza Strip through the Rafah border crossing, the only entry that bypasses Israel.
They were hoping to join Palestinians for a march Thursday to mark the first anniversary of Israel's devastating war on Gaza that killed 1,400 Palestinians. Thirteen Israelis also died.
The move to allow 100 protesters through came after intervention from Egypt's First Lady Suzanne Mubarak, Wright said.
"It's a positive breakthrough. It shows that six days' of pressure has worked," she said.
But Wright said those left behind in Cairo would still try to push for entry into the blockaded enclave.
"It's not the Egyptian government policy we are trying to take on. We are trying to highlight what is going on in Gaza," she said.
The activists had staged demonstrations and hunger strikes around Cairo to protest at Egypt's refusal to let them leave the city.
Egypt had said it barred the protesters because of the "sensitive situation" in the Gaza Strip, accusing them of trying to embarrass Cairo with their demonstrations.
Date created : 2009-12-30