UNRESTRICTED MEDIA RELEASE 25 MAY 2018
Brighton to host a boat from the 2018 Freedom Flotilla to Gaza 5-8 June
Brighton and Hove Palestine Solidarity Campaign, together with the international Freedom Flotilla Coalition, are very pleased to announce that Brighton will be hosting one of the boats sailing from Scandinavia to Gaza this summer. Like international flotillas to Gaza in previous years, this flotilla aims to raise international awareness of the 11-year illegal blockade of Gaza, and to put pressure on the international community to end the blockade.
The boat “Freedom” is scheduled to arrive in Brighton on Tuesday 5 June and will stay for three nights, departing for its onward voyage to Gaza on Friday 8 June. There is a call-out to supporters of the Palestinian struggle across southeast England to welcome “Freedom” when it sails into Brighton on the 5th of June, and when it departs Brighton on the 8th of June.
“Freedom” is one of four boats taking part in the Flotilla, and the only one being brought to English territorial waters. We hope that this will give people in England and throughout Britain an opportunity to show their support for the Palestinian people of Gaza, and to send a message to the British Government to end its complicity in the ongoing illegal blockade.
During their stay in Brighton, activists and crew from “Freedom” will meet with politicians, campaigners and prominent local people, to convey the message of solidarity at the heart of the Flotilla’s journey and to raise awareness about the 11-year illegal blockade of Gaza.
There will be a public meeting on Wednesday 6th June 2018 at 7.30pm at the Friends Meeting House in Ship Street, Brighton BN1 1AF, featuring activists and crew from “Freedom” as well as prominent supporters in the UK. Please refer to the Events section of our website.
The Gaza Freedom Flotilla is led by a fishing boat “Al-Awda” (Arabic for “Return”). “Al-Awda” left the Norwegian port of Bergen on April 30, together with “Freedom” and “Mairead”, named after Irish Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Maguire, who was on board the 2010 flotilla and the Women’s Boat to Gaza in 2016.
In the coming weeks, a fourth ship “Palestine” is expected to join the Flotilla. Two boats will travel via European canals and rivers, while two others will sail along the Atlantic coast. All of the boats will make many port stops before meeting again in the Mediterranean Sea for the final leg towards Gaza in mid-July. There are many different participants and crew, including activists from 20 countries – details are progressively being promoted on the Freedom Flotilla Coalition website (https://jfp.freedomflotilla.org/participants).
The flotilla is expected to reach the Gaza Strip in July.
The international Freedom Flotilla Coalition states:
“In response to the brutal Israeli blockade, for seven years the Freedom Flotilla Coalition has carried out nonviolent direct actions aimed at raising international awareness and putting pressure on the international community to end the blockade”.
“We sail this year for the right to a just future for Palestine… We will continue to put pressure on our governments and protest their complicity with Israel’s crimes against humanity. We sail again to stand with the Palestinians of Gaza, as they demand their freedom of movement and their right to a just future in their land”.
One of the activists joining the flotilla will be Yudit Ilany, political consultant to Israeli Knesset Member Haneen Zoabi. Ilany was also part of the 2016 Women’s Boat to Gaza. She is currently on board the “Al Awda“ but will be leaving the Flotilla in Amsterdam.
Before the Flotilla left Gothenburg, a solidarity ceremony was held in the Swedish city with the participation of hundreds of activists from Scandinavia and other European countries to mark the launch of the flotilla.
The ceremony coincided with “Nakba Day,” the “Day of Catastrophe” that marks the ethnic cleansing of over 700,000 Palestinians leading to the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.
Israel’s declared policy is not to allow any protest flotillas to reach Gaza. In the past, the Israeli Occupation Forces have taken control of all the vessels in international waters. Information about previous campaigns and missions here: https://freedomflotilla.org/.
Notes for editors:
Brighton & Hove Palestine Solidarity Campaign (BHPSC):
Local contact for Brighton & Hove Palestine Solidarity Campaign is Ben Steele (BHPSC Secretary). Email firstname.lastname@example.org or mobile 07448 130963.
More information on the Freedom Flotilla Coalition and the 2018 Flotilla:
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