Over 500 of us in 11 coaches set off in a “People’s Convoy” from Cairo early last Saturday morning to take medical supplies into Gaza and show solidarity.
The regime of Abdel Fattah el-Sisi keeps Egypt’s border with Gaza closed, helping maintain the siege.
Activists included Revolutionary Socialists and members of the 6 April youth movement, as well as workers from the public transport authority, a plastics factory and petrol trade factory.
We got to Ismalia just east of Suez. At first everything went smoothly. Unusually, no one searched the buses.
But as soon as we got to Balouzi, the first checkpoint in North Sinai only 100 kilometres from the border, the military stopped us.
They first claimed they were getting cars to escort us. Then they declared they were concerned for our safety and said we couldn’t go any further.
We protested for hours with flags and placards, and chanted against the regime and its support for Israel.
But after more than four hours trucks full of thugs arrived. The soldiers started raising their weapons and we were forced to turn back.
The military offered to “deliver the medical aid themselves”.
We did not trust them and insisted on holding onto it.
The Palestinian cause has been a catalyst throughout the Egyptian struggle and is not just symbolic. We removed Israel’s number one supporter, dictator Hosni Mubarak, three years ago.
Now the counter-revolution is gaining ground and this is reflected in mainstream discussion of Palestine as el-Sisi attacks the Muslim Brotherhood.
But we will not stop fighting el-Sisi, or supporting the Palestinians’ fight for freedom.