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Canadian Gaza activists foiled by Greek Coast Guard

  • 12:51 pm, July 4th, 2011

DANIEL PROUSSALIDIS | QMI AGENCY

Post Sun News Media

OTTAWA - The Greek Coast Guard has stopped a defiant Canadian crew of activists that ignored orders to stay in port and set sail aiming to bust Israel's blockade of Gaza.

"They have taken control of the wheelhouse," activist David Heap told QMI Agency moments after Greek authorities boarded the Tahrir amid angry taunts from activists. "The motors of our boat have been cut."

Coast guard personnel boarded the boat to Gaza on Monday soon after it left port in Agios Nikolaos on the island of Crete.

Heap says the activists have offered passive, non-violent resistance.

"We were met with armed soldiers, but some people are standing in their way, and now some of us are blocking the windows to the wheelhouse," said Heap.

He wasn't aware of any arrests or serious injuries.

The Tahrir left port despite an order from Greek authorities banning the departure of any vessels trying to break Israel's security blockade of Gaza.

The Greek offer to send any humanitarian aid aboard the Tahrir or other flotilla ships to Gaza via the UN didn't cut it with Heap.

"The point is the blockade of Gaza is illegal," said Heap.
Activists maintain Greece doesn't have the authority to block passage to Gaza.

Greece's decision to block the flotilla comes amid warming relations with Israel and a just-concluded joint air force drill.