International activists planning to enter Gaza from Egypt for a march appealed to President Hosni Mubarak on Saturday to allow them to enter the blockaded enclave through the Rafah crossing.
Organisers of the Gaza Freedom March had earlier said they would try to defy the ban after Egypt turned down their request to pass through Rafah, the Gaza Strip’s only crossing that bypasses Israel.
“We plead to you to let the Gaza Freedom March continue so that we can join the Palestinians of Gaza to march together on December 31,” the activists said in a statement addressed to Mubarak.
Egypt said it would prevent their passage because of the “sensitive situation” in Gaza and warned Monday of legal repercussions for anyone defying the ban.
Around 1,300 international delegates from 42 countries have signed up to join the Gaza Freedom March which was due to enter Gaza via Egypt during the last week of December.
On the morning of December 31, participants were due to join Palestinians “in a non-violent march from northern Gaza to the Erez/Israeli border,” organisers said on their website.