A group of Spanish activists took over their country’s embassy in central Athens on Tuesday, hanging a Palestinian flag and demanding that an international flotilla be allowed to leave Greece for the Gaza Strip.
M&C (H/T Maria) -The move came as a French yacht participating in the flotilla that is hoping to break Israel’s naval blockade left a port near Athens, bound for the salient, but turned back after several hours, Israel Radio reported.
The Israeli Radio report quoted flotilla activists as saying those on board the Dignite-Al Karama did not want to be the only ones sailing to the Strip, after other boats were prevented from doing so by the Greek coast guard, making the departure purely a symbolic act.
The group of 21 Spanish activists are from the Spanish boat Gernica, which has been docked on the southern Mediterranean island of Crete for the past few weeks, awaiting an opportunity to sail.
Greek authorities have banned the 10-vessel flotilla, loaded with aid and carrying several hundred pro-Palestinian activists from 22 countries – including Greece, Canada, France, Spain and the United States – from sailing towards Gaza.
The Spanish activists insist they will continue to ‘peacefully’ occupy the premises of the embassy until their government asks Greek authorities to allow them to sail to Gaza.
The Greek coast guard has repeatedly intercepted many of the 10 ships which have tried to set sail for Gaza.