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Breaking: Canadian Boat to Gaza leaves port, seized by Greek Coast Guard
by updates
Monday Jul 4th, 2011 12:01 PM
It all happened very fast. Late afternoon in Greece, the Canadian Boat to Gaza - Tahrir - left port and attempted to sail to Gaza. Tweets from Canadians on board tell of the boat making it to nearly four miles from the international boundary before the Greek Coast Guard was able to stop it. Activists in kayaks apparently attempted to stop the Coast Guard from boarding the Tahrir. The Coast Guard apparently used water cannons to seize the boat and carried M16s on to ship in order commandeer the steering. Tahir participansts resisted non-violently.
tahrir_owhpb.jpg
tahrir_owhpb.jpg

The ship has been turned back to port and as of 6:52PM local time, is in Greek custody. Check back here and follow @CanadaBoatGaza on Twitter for more updates.

In a 4 July statement (reproduced in full below), Canadian Boat to Gaza declared, “With the support of Greek civil society and people from all around the world the Tahrir is casting off from Greece today.” Here is the full statement:

The Canadian Boat to Gaza (CBG), the Tahrir, to set sail today as part of Freedom Flotilla II

Agios Nikolaos, Greece - With the support of Greek civil society and people from all around the world the Tahrir is casting off from Greece today.

"The Tahrir is leaving port in Crete, and we are breaking through Israel's Gaza blockade which now extends to Greek ports," said David Heap from aboard the Tahrir. "Israel's expansion of the Gaza blockade to Greece is just the latest example of how the blockade of Gaza is about attacking freedom, not increasing security."

Article 13.2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that "Everyone has the right to leave any country". Preventing flotilla ships from leaving Greek ports is a clear violation of this human right.

"Greece has no right to detain foreign-flagged ships in its ports other than for purposes of assuring seaworthiness via timely inspection. And they cannot interfere with 'innocent passage' through their territorial waters, and this passage is definitely innocent," said Richard Falk, American professor of international law and an appointee to two United Nations positions on the Palestinian territories.

"Greece's position is disturbing but this should not divert our attention from Israel and its illegal and inhumane blockade of Gaza. Israel is the source of the problem and it will be held accountable by the international community -- sooner or later," said Sandra Ruch, from the Tahrir steering committee.

Support actions have been and continue to be held at Greek consulates all over Canada (as well as in cities all over the world) calling on the Greek government to end its support of the Israeli blockade of Gaza and immediately lift the blockade it is imposing on the Flotilla boats from Greece's ports.

The Canadian Boat to Gaza has sent letter to all Greek MPs asking them to let the flotilla boats go:
http://www.tahrir.ca/content/letter-members-greek-parliament



Here is the story in tweets:


Canada Boat to Gaza @CanadaBoatGaza Canada Boat to Gaza

Contact Cdn MPs to tell them to support the Cdn citizens on the Tahrir - tell Greek govt to let them sail, let them go http://www.parl.gc.ca/MembersOfParliament/MainMPsCompleteList.aspx


Canada Boat to Gaza @CanadaBoatGaza Canada Boat to Gaza

No one from the Tahrir has been arrested yet. But Greek police are here and no one is able to leave the boat. #flotilla2


Canada Boat to Gaza @CanadaBoatGaza Canada Boat to Gaza

We left port without a captain. We released captain and crew from contract and sailed under control of international volunteers. #flotilla2


jesse rosenfeld @kissmykishkas jesse rosenfeld

Police are now lining the port while a large tugboat blocks the #tahrir at the doc

2 minutes ago via web


jesse rosenfeld @kissmykishkas jesse rosenfeld

Coast guard again "I'm only folowing orders," Heap responds again "That's what German soldiers said in 1945" #freedomflotilla2, Tahrir

5 minutes ago via web


Canada Boat to Gaza @CanadaBoatGaza Canada Boat to Gaza

Contact Greek Embassy in Canada - Protest Greek govt enforcing Israeli policy (613) 238-6271 / embassy[at]greekembassy[dot]ca #Canada4Gaza


Canada Boat to Gaza @CanadaBoatGaza Canada Boat to Gaza

We got about 5km away from shore. Greek authorities have taken over the boat and appear to be heading back to port.

1 hour ago via web


Dylan Penner @DylanPenner Dylan Penner

We still have control of the Tahrir, but Greek coast guard is trying to take control. We're resisting nonviolently. This is our boat!

1 hour ago via web


jesse rosenfeld @kissmykishkas jesse rosenfeld

Coast guard used water cannons then borded the #tahrir with m16's and took the wheel room from the driver at gun point

28 minutes ago via web


Canada Boat to Gaza @CanadaBoatGaza Canada Boat to Gaza

Kayakers were able to block Greek coast guard briefly when we left port. #canada4gaza #flotilla2


Dylan Penner

@DylanPenner Dylan Penner

The Tahrir has left port and is sailing. Greek coast Guard nearby. Stay tuned. #flotilla2 #canada4gaza @CanadaBoatGaza #p2ca #cdnpoli

1 hour ago via web


http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/canadianboattogaza/2011/07/breaking-canadian-boat-gaza-leaves-port-siezed-greek-coast


Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Canadian Boat to Gaza
Monday Jul 4th, 2011 12:04 PM
An update from the steering committee of the Canadian Boat to Gaza.

As news started to spread that the flotilla plans to sail from Greece on Monday the Israeli media is now reporting on a Greek-Israeli agreement to deliver the flotilla aid supplies destined for Gaza through "existing channels."

Remember, there is NO Greek offer to the flotilla. There is only media reports about a deal between Greece and Israel.

Our goals (CBG and FF-II) have always been clear and central in them is ending the illegal blockade of Gaza. From day one we have maintained that the so called "existing channels" are not adequate and are unacceptable. They have not and will not resolve the problems facing the people of Gaza.

We call on you to continue to pressure Greece to lift the blockade it imposed on the Canadian Boat to Gaza (the Tahrir) and other FF-II boats (details below).

To quote Richard Falk, American professor of international law and a UN appointee to the Palestinian territories: "Greece has no right to detain foreign-flagged ships in its ports other than for purposes of assuring seaworthiness via timely inspection. And they cannot interfere with 'innocent passage' through their territorial waters, and this passage is definitely innocent."

The situation in Greece is changing by the minute. The delegates on Tahrir are in continuous consultation among themselves and are taking their decisions collectively in a democratic way. We support them in whatever decision the will make with our spirits and also with our actions.

Actions planned for the coming days:

Montreal:
11:30 a.m. Monday, July 4 at the Greek Consulate, 1002 Sherbrooke Street West

Quebec city:
4:30 p.m. Monday, July 4, rue St-Jean in front of Radio-Canada

Vancouver:
12:00 noon Monday, July 4 at the Greek Consulate – 688 W Hastings (near Granville)
11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday July 6, Peace Picnic! Seaforth Peace Flame Park (South end of the Burrard Street Bridge)

Hamilton:
5:00 p.m. Monday, July 4 at the Federal Building, 55 Bay Street North

Ottawa:
In the event of an emergency (so please watch the Facebook page and the website for updates, we will announce loudly if it happens) 5:30 PM at the corner of Elgin and Wellington, Longevin Block, Prime Minister's Office

Halifax:
12:00 noon to 1:00 PM Tuesday July 5 at Purdy's Wharf near Tower One

Other:

If you know of other events please let us know. Send a message with full details to info [at] tahrir.ca

The “Tahrir” is still blocked by Greek authorities from leaving port although all papers are in order. You can see the action on the ground here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=375t8FQFxhE

What can I do?

Organize public rallies, vigils, etc. in your area. Focus on the Greek diplomatic mission or choose an effective location in your city to hold an action.

I can't leave my home or office:

- Tweet about the sailing of the Tahrir and the Flotilla. Do try to re-tweet what you see from @CanadaBoatGaza and @Gaza_Bateau you can also change your photo on your Twitter account to the Canada Boat to Gaza logo. You can get this image by saving the logo that is on the top left side of the front page of tahrir.ca. The president of Greece has a Twitter account. Don't forget to include that in your tweets @PrimeministerGR

- Facebook, as soon as you can, please change your photo to the Canada Boat to Gaza logo and you can get all your Facebook friends to do the same. You can find the image to use on our Facebook page on the top left of the front page of tahrir.ca or at http://www.facebook.com/CanadaBoatGaza AND the President of Greece has a Facebook page. Look for George A. Papandreou. You can't post, but you can comment on posts.

- To your email lists : please send out this message of a call to action.

- On your websites and blogs please post this call to action. Please post links to tahrir.ca and our Facebook page on your websites and blogs

- In your windows of your offices, houses, cars or on your bicycles please make and place a symbol for a boat. Try this origami boat http://www.origami-instructions.com/easy-origami-boat.html . Don't forget to write in bold letters "The Tahrir, Canada Boat to Gaza"

- Contact Greek officials , and tell them we are aware of the mass protests happening in Canada, Greece and worldwide in support of the Flotilla. Ask them to let the boats go.

You can phone or email (or both):
(514) 875-2119
(604) 681-1381
(416) 515-0133
(613) 238-6271
Press Office: (613) 232-6796
embassy@.greekembassy.ca

- Phone your Canadian MPs : You will find contact info here:
http://www.parl.gc.ca/MembersOfParliament/MainMPsCompleteList.aspx


http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/canadianboattogaza/2011/07/take-action-support-canadian-boat-gaza

by Canadian Boat to Gaza
Monday Jul 4th, 2011 12:08 PM
The Canadian Boat to Gaza is being blocked by Greek authorities
By Canadian Boat to Gaza | July 1, 2011

The blockade of Gaza reaches the shores of Greece!

As it attempts to sail, the Canadian Boat to Gaza, the Tahrir, blockaded in Greece

The Greek Coast Guard are now on board the Tahrir attempting to arrest Sandra Rush, Jewish Canadian member of the Canada boat to Gaza Steering Committee, who is refusing to surrender the boat's registration papers.

Efforts to stop Freedom Flotilla 2 - Stay Human from sailing have included diplomatic pressure and manipulation, economic blackmail, bureaucratic obstacles, baseless and slanderous allegations against the flotilla and the delegates, and sabotage of at least two vessels.

"The world watched as an intensive campaign to prevent the Tahrir and the entire Freedom flotilla II from sailing was underway. We have been unjustly and duplicitously treated." said Irene MacInnes of the Tahrir organizing committee. "The government of Israel, shamefully with the tacit support of the Harper government, is doing everything in its power to maintain the blockade. Today, as a result of the concerted efforts of the 4th largest military power in the world and its backers, we have been prevented from sailing to Gaza. Yet we will persevere in our attempts till the blockade is lifted."

"Israel has in effect extended the illegal blockade of Gaza to Greek ports, using the Greece's economic difficulties to influence the government's position", said David Heap of the organizing committee.

"We remain absolutely clear that the Canadian Boat to Gaza has not been, is not, and has no intention of, breaking any laws. It is the blockade of Gaza that is illegal under international law. We have a legal and moral obligation to challenge the blockade, given the failure of the international community to act", said Dylan Penner of the organizing committee. "This is why we must continue our attempts to sail to Gaza: to challenge the illegal and immoral blockade and to equally challenge the Canadian federal government's support for it."

Meanwhile the U.S. boat to Gaza, The Audacity of Hope, is at a standoff with the Greek Navy boats, refusing orders to return to shore.

For biographies of delegates aboard the Tahrir visit: http://www.tahrir.ca/content/delegates-board-tahrir


http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/canadianboattogaza/2011/07/canadian-boat-gaza-being-blocked-greek-authorities