Egyptian airport authorities barred Wednesday 62 international female peace activists from entering Egypt en route to the besieged Gaza Strip for an International Women’s Day event.
Some of the activists have been deported, while others are still at Cairo Airport, staging a protest against the Egyptian authorities’ repressive measures against them, according to the Twitter account of the deported CODEPINK activist Medea Benjamin.
The activists include Northern Ireland Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead Maguire, American human right campaigner Medea Benjamin, and Northern Ireland human rights advocate Anne Patterson.
“Ms Benjamin, who traveled alone, was assaulted by Egyptian security officials, deported to Istanbul, Turkey, on March 4 and was hospitalised overnight in Istanbul until her flight to the US midday on March 5,” according to a press release by CODEPINK.
“It is a sad day when Egypt refuses entry to peace people and is complicit with Israeli and US policies in continuing the blockade of Gaza,” Nobel Laureate Mairead MaGuire said.
Gazan authorities announced that Djamila Bouhired, the prominent Algerian female activist, would be part of the delegation.
Security sources told Anadolu news agency that the activists are listed as “unwanted individuals” at Cairo Airport, and that they have to enter Gaza through Israeli borders if they wish.
Egyptian authorities have closed the Rafah border crossing since the July 3 military coup, occasionally opening it for humanitarian cases.
According to CODEPINK, the delegation has planned to travel to Gaza “to witness the hardships facing the 1.7 million residents, deliver humanitarian aid, and call attention to the need for a longer-term strategy to achieve peace and justice for Palestinians.”