Women protesting in Egyptian airport leave country

Photo: Women protesting in Egyptian airport leave country / Arab World

Women activists who held a sit-in protest at Cairo International Airport over not being allowed to travel to the Gaza Strip have left the country on Friday morning, airport officials said Al Arabiya reported.

The officials - who spoke anonymously because they were not authorized to speak to reporters - said that the activists were placed on entry ban lists for "challenging and provoking security despite the good treatment," according to the Associated Press.

Some demonstrators left the terminal by taking flights to London, Paris and Istanbul, Al Arabiya's correspondent reported.

Around 40 women planned to cross into the Gaza Strip in Palestine for World Women's Day. However, the activists were refused entry into the country due to security concerns, Egyptian authorities said.

Egypt's border with Gaza has been closed since February, as authorities fight against Islamic militants and smuggling in the Sinai peninsula.

Badr Abdulaati, spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that the activists had not applied for a permit to cross the border - and that the protest was an attempt to stage a "media show," to avoid going through the required procedures.

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