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Greek Government Prevents Departure of Gaza Aid Boats, French Boat Sets Sail, Spanish Activists Protest in Embassy

French boat sets sail to Gaza

Wednesday July 06, 2011 08:40 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC News

As the Greek government prevents the departure of a number of Gaza-bound aid boats, one of the boats with the Freedom Flotilla, which was not docked in Greece, has managed to set sail for the Gaza Strip.

Two other boats that attempted to sail to Gaza from Greece over the last week were intercepted by the Greek Coastguard and accompanied back to port. They were among ten boats set to travel to Gaza in the humanitarian “Freedom Flotilla” last week, which was delayed by sabotage, threats and a Greek government directive to stop the Flotilla.

The French boat was stationed in Corsica when the Greek directive was passed, and on Tuesday managed to leave port and enter international waters. Passengers on the boat say that they will wait in international waters for the other boats in the Flotilla to join them, unless they are directed by organizers to go ahead.

Once the flotilla is in international waters, it should reach Gaza within three days, although Israeli forces have pledged to stop the boats from reaching their destination.

The French boat, known as 'Dignite al Karama', carries a number of French dignitaries including the head of the New Left Party, Olivier Besancenot, and European Parliament Member Nicole Kiil-Nilsen.

The boat, like the others in the Flotilla, was sponsored by hundreds of individual donors hoping to show support to the besieged population of the Gaza Strip.

Spanish flotilla activists occupy embassy in Greece

Thursday July 07, 2011 02:16 by IMEMC Staff

A group of Spanish activists have occupied their country’s embassy in Greece, calling for the release of an aid flotilla to the Gaza Strip.

The Greek government decided last week to prevent the departure of a flotilla of ten ships and 500 activists to the Gaza Strip, after diplomatic pressure by Israel.

The Spanish activists stormed their embassy in Athens on Tuesday, and have remained in the embassy since that time. Their key demand is that the Spanish government pressure Greece to allow the flotilla to sail to Gaza.

Spanish European Parliament member Willy Meyer said the blockade on Gaza is “totally illegal”, and said that the decision to block the aid flotilla is against international law.

Most of the 500 activists who are in Greece preparing to go to Gaza say that they are determined to remain with their boats until Greece lets them go.

The captain of the US boat, who was arrested on Friday when he tried to leave the port, was released yesterday without charges.

The United Nations issued a statement condemning the aid flotilla and urging the activists to use “other means” to get aid to Gaza. But the Freedom Flotilla participants say this statement is disingenuous, as the Israeli naval blockade has prevented ‘other means’ for getting aid to the besieged Gaza Strip.

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