Gaza protesters throw shoes, stones at convoy of UN chief Ban Ki-moon

Angry Palestinian protesters threw shoes, stones, and even chairs at the convoy of UN chief Ban Ki-Moon today, as it crossed into the Gaza Strip from Israel, the Haaretz online news site reported.

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The mob of about 50 people targeted several UN cars on the Palestinian side of the Erez crossing, but it is understood no-one was hurt in the attack.

Several of the protesters were holding signs that read “enough bias to Israel,"  while others formed a human chain in an attempt to hold up the convoy, the Associated Press reported.

Most of the group were family members of Palestinian prisoners who were upset over Ban's refusal to meet with them to discuss the situation of Palestinians in jail, Reuters reported.

An estimated 5,000 Palestinians are being held in Israeli jails.

Jamal Farwana, a spokesman for Gaza prisoners' families, told the AP:

"We came here in a symbolic message to Ban Ki-moon that Palestinians from Gaza want to have the right to visit their children and loved ones in Israeli jails … He should make more of an effort to release the prisoners and we wonder why every time he avoids meeting families of Palestinian prisoners."

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Media reports said the convoy of armored vehicles was able to push past the protesters, with security forces from Hamas, which controls Gaza, holding back the group.

Ban, who is visiting the Middle East in a bid to kick-start stalled peace negotiations, then continued on his way to the southern town of Khan Younis, where he is to inaugurate a UN-sponsored construction project.

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