On 17 June, the prefecture of Paris stopped two humanitarian boats destined for Gaza from docking. And a video from activists caught events as they unfolded.
In 2010, Israeli commandos stormed the Mavi Marmara ship, killing nine people attempting to deliver aid to the people of Gaza. Since then, ‘freedom flotillas’ have tried to ‘break’ Israel’s blockade of the strip.
The boats making up this year’s ‘freedom flotillas’ are: Al Awda (The Return), Hurriya (Freedom/Liberty), Falestine (Palestine), and Mairead (named after a Nobel Peace Laureate who sailed against the blockade previously).
Opposition from Paris
The video states that French police confined the boats in a lock for three hours.
Claude Léostic, the coordinator in France of the Gaza flotilla, explains:
These boats are part of the international flotilla for liberty that almost every two years tries to break the blockade of Gaza.
After being released from the lock, the video says the police threatened the flotilla members with fines for the ‘political’ banners on the boats. These showed the phrases “SHIP TO GAZA” and “BREAK THE BLOCKADE OF GAZA”.
Léostic then says:
These policemen who are harassing us since this morning told us nonsense about the speed of the boat; they tried to force us to go faster, then to slow down, then go this way, then the other way around.
The Al Awda was also boarded by the German coast guard on 23 May 2018.
at the orders of the German Ministry of Interior. They collected all the passports on board, wrote down everyone’s personal data, searched the vessel thoroughly, asked for detailed information about ports of call along the way to Gaza.
Not every stop has been hostile, though. Green MEP Keith Taylor, for example, expressed his solidarity with the flotilla and the people of Gaza. And his home town of Brighton hosted Hurriya earlier this month.
Israel, a “rogue state that massacres”
The Paris video concludes with Léostic saying:
If states and governments do not put the necessary pressure on Israel – which is a rogue state that massacres, that kills children, nurses, journalists – if states are doing nothing, then it’s the civil population – we the citizens – who must take things in their own hands and say: ‘enough is enough, we cannot allow this colonial violence to continue. We want to show our solidarity with the Palestinian people of Gaza.’
And she stressed:
We have noticed an extremely serious change in behaviour of the French state. Here, they forbid boats with a peaceful goal.
– Finally, write to your national or local politicians to share your concerns and ask where they stand.
Featured image via screenshot
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?