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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 1/6/10

Blocking Freedom Marcher/Viva Palestina Aid to Gaza

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On December 31, the entire group defied police blockades and unfurled banners calling on supporters to join with them in solidarity. Some got past barricades and marched to Tahreer Square in downtown Cairo. Courageous Egyptians joined them to denounce their government's role, risking severe measures freely used against anyone defying government orders.


Police separated them from the marchers, then assaulted them. One of them, Desiree Fairooz said:


"I was lifted by the Egyptian police forces and literally tossed over the fence."


More measures likely followed, unreported away from the demonstration, perhaps including arrests and brutal treatment in detention, common measures by Egyptian security forces, including torture.


On January 1, marchers protested in front of the Israeli consulate, and were quickly confronted again, but demonstrated again the next day. Reports were that Egyptian plainclothes police were involved, used violence, and injured seven or more protestors. Mick Napier, head of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign said:


"The police used excessive force, and at one stage several female protestors were punched and kicked. A couple had their hijabs ripped away from the head. Many of us were taken aback by the naked (police) aggression as this was a nonviolent protest."


Marchers were also "dragged, pulled, and manhandled" according to Code Pink's Medea Benjamin. Surprisingly, no one was arrested, but they were fenced into a pen and held for two days, surrounded by baton-wielding riot police, forced sleep on the sidewalk, and most were denied food or toilet access. About 50 US citizens were roughed up and held briefly in detention.


On January 3, organizers reported a French citizen's death from security force sustained injuries. Marie Renee died in a Cairo hospital. She was one of 300 members of a French delegation.


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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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