Egypt: British MP Galloway declared persona non grata

Published January 8th, 2010 - 07:09 GMT

Egyptian authorities told British MP George Galloway he was persona non grata on Friday after activists who joined him to dispatch an aid convoy to Gaza Strip clashed with police. The lawmaker flew home to London, claiming he had been "basically forced" onto a plane in Cairo.


According to AFP,. an Egyptian foreign ministry official told Galloway before he left that he was no longer welcome. The foreign ministry later issued a statement saying Galloway would not be allowed to return to the country. The decision came after earlier this week activists with the Viva Palestina convoy clashed with police in the port town of El-Arish.


Seven protesters were arrested during Tuesday's clashes, but police swapped them for four policemen held by the activists.


Arriving back at London Heathrow airport on Friday, Galloway told Sky News television he and a friend had been "bundled into a car" and given little choice but to get on a plane out of Egypt. "Twenty-five police officers, accepting no dissuasion, drove us straight to the airport, basically forced us onto the plane and on the steps of the plane a representative of the foreign affairs ministry in Egypt told me that I was declared persona non grata," the British legislator added.


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