Watch: Greek authorities arrest captain of Gaza-bound Audacity of Hope, to charge him with endangering lives of passengers. Meanwhile officials cite unprecedented preparations for flotilla: Turkel would be proud
Greece arrests Gaza-bound boat captain
07.02.11, 20:35 / Israel News
Greek authorities have arrested the captain of a boat that was to be part of a Gaza-bound flotilla trying to deliver humanitarian aid to the Palestinian territory, officials said Saturday.
The 60-year-old captain, whose name was not released by authorities, was being held at Piraeus police headquarters and will remain there until a court hearing Tuesday.
Greece's coast guard said the captain of the "Audacity of Hope" faces charges of trying to leave port without permission and of endangering the lives of the boat's passengers. The latter charge is a felony.
French boat successfully sails for Gaza
Tue Jul 5, 2011
Ramin Mazaheri, Press TV, Paris
Freedom Flotilla 2 has never really pushed away from Greece's shores. Israeli diplomatic pressure has persuaded the Greek government to apprehend nearly ten ships by using force and making arrests.
The main French boat is still docked in Athens, but a second, smaller boat, carrying 8 French nationals, has succeeded in avoiding Greek authorities and is expected to reach Gaza no later than Thursday. One passenger spoke to the international media from the boat.
Two ships were not refused permission because they were victims of sabotage, which could have led to dozens of deaths at sea. In all, some 350 activists from 22 countries are stuck in port.
About 20 activists from a Spanish boat responded by occupying their nation's embassy in Athens to demand their government's support. In Paris, the main delegation of French sailors has returned, joyful over the news that their compatriots' boat had eluded capture.
Attention now turns to another high-profile event on July 8th, when hundreds of activists will converge at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Aiport. Israeli officials have called the group, mostly women and children, "hooligans" and threatened them with immediate deportation.
The more than 1.5 million impoverished inhabitants of Gaza live in what is often described as an "open-air prison", while scarcity and unemployment are almost as endemic in the West Bank.
Regardless of the outcome of Freedom Flotilla 2 and the Ben Gurion Airport Arrival, many activists say they have already achieved one of their main objectives: drawing the world's attention to the Palestinian crisis.
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