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July 1, 2011 6:03 pm

Greek Military Halts Gaza Bound Flotilla

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The Mavi Marmara. Photo: Free Gaza Movement.

The Greek Coast Guard has boarded the ship Audacity of Hope, which had planned to participate in the Gaza flotilla. It has been stopped in the open sea, two miles outside of Pireaus. 46 passengers, including 10 journalists have been returned to port of Keratsiniou.

Al Jazeera reports that a passenger has informed the news service that the boat returned when “fully armed commandos joined with the forces of the Coast Guard and pointed their guns to the activists on board.” According to the “Ministry for the Protection of the Citizen,” “the ship sailed illegally without authorization from Coastal Authorities and from the point of origin at Peramatos, and while lacking substantially in the sphere of Seaworthy Safety.”

The activists asked supporters for “overwhelming” calls to Greek Embassies to pressure Athens to permit the ships to continue their journey. Apparently with little effect: Athens is restricting all ships with Greek and foreign flags from having their destination the Gaza area from leaving Greek ports.  Currently nine ships, Greek and foreign flagged, are involved carrying several hundred activists who “condemn the political position of the Greek government.”

The KKE (Communist Party of Greece) call the government action “unacceptable” and “one more attempt of support and collaboration with the Israeli government.” The Greek military, however, is preventing the remaining boats from setting sail.

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