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Woman in Gaza hunger strike pledge

A peace campaigner on hunger strike over the situation in Gaza vowed today to continue her protest indefinitely as she delivered a petition to Downing Street.

Maria Gallastegui, 50, is campaigning for Prime Minister Gordon Brown to speak out against Israel's blockade of the stricken region.

The full-time peace campaigner, who lives in a tent in Parliament Square, has been on hunger strike for 16 days and says she will go on indefinitely.

Ms Gallastegui, a former coach driver, said she was feeling weak, but she felt it was the only effective way to make her concerns known.

She said: "How do you make yourself heard in the political climate we're in? People just don't take any notice. You want to remain peaceful, but you have to make people listen."

Ms Gallastegui said she was disappointed at the refusal by the BBC and Sky to broadcast an emergency appeal for Gaza by the Disasters Emergency Committee.

"It is very disappointing and very sad because the appeal shows these people are in a desperate plight, so why won't they help them?

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"Impartiality is a nice cop-out. How can we be impartial when people are suffering and dying? It's a luxury we can't afford."

Ms Gallastegui is keeping vigil outside Downing Street from Monday to Friday, and delivers a new petition every day.

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