Freedom flotilla boat visits English port of Brighton
‘Freedom’, one of the vessels of a flotilla traveling from Sweden to Palestine to break an 11-year blockade by Israeli on Gaza, arrived in the British port of Brighton Tuesday.
The boat was welcomed by a group of activists gathered at Brighton Marina with chants and slogans, including “Freedom to Palestine” and “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be Free”.
Horns were also blown by activists as the boat approached the marina before making its way to a harbor in Shoreham, where it will remain anchored for the next three days.
Zaher Birawi, a British Palestinian journalist and one of the organizers of the international campaign to end the inhumane blockade from the sea, said all of the boats of the flotilla left the Dutch capital of Amsterdam a few days ago and are visiting various ports across Europe.
“’Freedom’ came to Brighton. We are here to salute it,” said Birawi, speaking to Anadolu Agency.
He said all of the flotilla’s boats will meet in Spain at the end of June to set sail for Gaza, where they will attempt to break the illegal naval blockade.
“We British people here and the different communities support the Freedom Flotilla, and we ask our government in the UK to stop supporting Israelis and stand with the oppressed people, the Palestinians,” Birawi added.
“It is the first time that an international freedom flotilla boat challenging the illegal blockade in Gaza is coming to an English port,” James Godfrey, spokesperson for the Freedom Flotilla Coalition, told Anadolu Agency.
“So it is important to highlight the British government’s complicity in the blockade of the 2 million Palestinian people in Gaza,” Godfrey added.
‘Freedom’ later sailed to Shoreham, where it will remain anchored before sailing off to a French port.
At least 100 people holding Palestinian flags and banners also welcomed the boat in Shoreham.
As part of this year’s campaign launched by the international Freedom Flotilla Coalition, six boats set sail on May 15, which also marked the 70th anniversary of the foundation of Israel -- an event Palestinians refer to as the "Nakba" or "Catastrophe".
Under the slogan "Right to a Just Future for Palestine", the boats will stop at a number of European ports including in Denmark, Britain, Italy, Spain and Greece before their last leg to Gaza.
By the end of 2016, 1.3 million Gazans were depending on international aid in order to survive while nearly half of the families in Gaza lacked access to secure food supplies, according to the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Every year for eight years now, the Freedom Flotilla Coalition has been launching a new campaign to challenge the blockade.
On May 31, 2010, Israeli commandos killed nine Turkish activists in the Mavi Marmara boat convoy in international waters. The convoy, which was part of the Freedom Flotilla Coalition, was headed for Gaza to deliver humanitarian aid. Another activist later succumbed to his injuries.(Anadolu Agency)