CAIRO (AP) — Egypt on Friday declared renegade British lawmaker George Galloway persona non grata, accusing him of incitement after his harsh criticism of Cairo over delays in an aid convoy’s entry into Gaza, the foreign ministry said Friday.
“George Galloway is considered persona non grata and will not be allowed to enter into Egypt again,” a Foreign Ministry statement said. The activist left Egypt Friday morning from Cairo airport.
Earlier, British press reported Galloway had been deported from Egypt. They said he was forcefully taken by police from the Rafah crossing with Gaza to Cairo airport where was put on departing British Airways plane.
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 on condition of anonymity because he is allowed to speak to the media. “He was told that he is a trouble maker and his behavior 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 traveling. Egypt gave them only 24 hours in the blockaded sea side strip before it said it would reclose 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, and dozens of protesters and police were injured. Seven convoy members were ordered arrested if they returned to Egypt.
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.