French flotilla boat leaving Crete 311 (R).
(photo credit: Reuters)
The French flotilla ship Dignity was allowed to leave a Greek port in Crete on Saturday after having been detained by the Greek coast guard while refueling on Thursday.
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the Greek coastguard said Dignity's destination was the island of
Rhodes, an activist on board said the ship still planned on sailing for
the Gaza Strip.
final destination is Gaza, we hope that we will reach that destination,
but for the time being we are sailing within the Greek waters," one of
ten pro-Palestinian activists aboard Dignity
had been sitting in international waters all week waiting for the other
nine ships in the flotilla to join it. The flotilla ships hoped to
break the blockade on the Gaza Strip, but Athens has imposed a departure ban on
all Gaza-bound ships on safety grounds.
Eight ships remain blocked in Greek ports while a ninth sits in need of repair in a Turkish port after claims of sabotage.
The protest flotilla to the Gaza Strip seemed to come to an end on Thursday
, when organizers decided to send more than half of the activists in Athens home.
The remaining activists said they would ponder their options in the face
of Greece’s continued refusal to allow the ships to sail.
Huwaida Arraf, a co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement and
one of the leaders of the Free Gaza Movement behind the flotilla, told
The Jerusalem Post
that most of the activists had been sent home to
engage in education and advocacy.
A few dozen activists remained behind in Athens to continue fighting for
the release of the ships – a sharp drop from the 350 who arrived there
in late June.
“It does not make sense to keep people waiting as we get the boats
released, and those people went home to do advocacy, which is better
than waiting here,” Arraf said by phone from the Greek capital.