MAILONLINE… George Galloway has been permanently banned from Egypt after he was thrown out of the country this morning.
Cairo is accusing the British MP of incitement after his harsh criticism of the government there over delays in an aid convoy’s entry into Gaza, the foreign ministry said today.
‘George Galloway is considered persona non grata and will not be allowed to enter into Egypt again,’ a Foreign Ministry statement said.
This morning plain clothes police officers bundled the Respect MP on to a plane bound for London, said a spokeswoman for the Viva Palestina humanitarian convoy.
Galloway had crossed the border into Egypt – but wanted to return to Gaza after news broke that members of the convoy had been arrested.
The incident began after Mr Galloway and his colleague, Ron McKay, arrived at the Rafah crossing from Gaza to Egypt.
‘As soon as they emerged on to Egyptian soil, both men were forcibly pushed into a van, refused exit and told that they were leaving the country,’ a spokeswoman said.
‘They were then driven off in a police convoy.’
A police officer maintained security only escorted him for his own protection.
‘It was to protect him from the Egyptian people’s anger,’ he said.
‘He was told that he is a trouble-maker and his behaviour is undermining Egyptian security.’
Galloway led more than 500 activists as part of an international aid convoy to Gaza.
They entered late Gaza Wednesday from Egypt after a month travelling. Egypt gave them only 24 hours in the blockaded sea side strip before it said it would re-close the crossing.
On Tuesday clashes erupted between members of the convoy and Egyptian riot police in the Mediterranean port city of El-Arish after the convoy was delayed due to some of the materials it was carrying.
The aid convoy of 550 people from 17 countries blamed the violence on ‘heavy-handed policing’ of the group.
Dozens of protesters and police were injured. Seven convoy members were ordered arrested if they returned to Egypt.
‘Mr Galloway and Turkish MPs struck a deal with Egyptian authorities, part of which was that the seven detainees were released without charge.
‘On the enforced drive to Cairo, news came through of the imminent arrest of the seven,’ the convoy spokeswoman siad.
‘But, when Mr Galloway demanded to return to Rafah, permission was repeatedly denied.’
A sympathy protest along the Gaza-side of the border Wednesday degenerated into stone-throwing scuffles and exchange of fire between Egyptian security and Palestinian gunmen, killing one Egyptian border guard.
The convoy was organized by the Britain-based group Viva Palestina, which planned to deliver hundreds of tons of aid.
A spokesman for the Foreign Office said: ‘We will continue to offer consular assistance to anyone who needs it.’