31 May 2010

Protest 2pm Downing Street against killing of peace activists

In Manchester there is a protest at 5pm today at the BBC on Oxford Road called by Manchester Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC)
Please tell everyone and get as many people there as you can
[bbc website entry is below – no challenge at all as to why Israel should be allowed to commit piracy on the high seas – on BBC Radio 4 they again let the Israeli spokesperson Regev off the hook]
There is a protest today at 2pm at Downing Street


Deaths as Israeli forces storm Gaza aid ship
Page last updated at 7:15 GMT, Monday, 31 May 2010 8:15 UK

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Turkish TV footage appeared to show Israeli troops on board
More than 10 people have been killed after Israeli commandos stormed a convoy of ships carrying aid to the Gaza Strip, the Israeli army says.

Armed forces boarded the vessels overnight, clashing with some of the 600 protesters on board.

The incident happened about 40 miles (64 km) out to sea, in international waters.

The ships are carrying 10,000 tonnes of aid to try to break a long-standing Israeli-led blockade.

Israel says when its soldiers boarded they were attacked by the activists with knives, one of whom grabbed a soldier's gun.

"The people on the boats were very, very violent toward the soldiers," Israeli military spokeswoman Lt Col Avital Leibovich was quoted by AFP news agency as saying.

Organisers of the flotilla said at least 30 people were wounded in the incident. Israel says four of its officers were injured.

Audrey Bomse, a spokesperson for the Free Gaza Movement, which is behind the convoy, told the BBC Israel's actions were disproportionate.

"We were not going to pose any violent resistance. The only resistance that there might be would be passive resistance such as physically blocking the steering room, or blocking the engine room downstairs, so that they couldn't get taken over. But that was just symbolic resistance."

Israel says it will tow the boats to its port in Ashdod, from where it says the passengers will be deported.

Israeli government minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer expressed his "sorrow over all the deaths".

Most of the people on board the boats were Turkish.

Turkey said it "strongly condemn[ed] these inhumane practices of Israel", AFP reported.

In Turkey, dozens of protesters tried to storm the Israeli consulate in the Istanbul, while the Israeli ambassador has been summoned to the Turkish foreign ministry.

Turkish TV pictures taken on board the Turkish ship leading the flotilla appeared to show Israeli soldiers fighting to control passengers.

The footage showed a number of people, apparently injured, lying on the ground. It is not clear whether the fighting is continuing.

Al-Jazeera TV reported from the same ship that Israeli navy forces had opened fire and boarded the vessel, wounding the captain.

The Al-Jazeera broadcast ended with a voice shouting in Hebrew, saying: "Everybody shut up!"

The six-ship flotilla left international waters off the coast of Cyprus on Sunday and was expected to arrive in Gaza later on Monday.

Israel had said it would stop the boats, calling the campaign a "provocation intended to delegitimise Israel".

Israel and Egypt tightened a blockade of Gaza after the Islamist movement Hamas took power there in 2007.

Israel says it allows about 15,000 tonnes of humanitarian aid into Gaza every week.

But the United Nations says this is less than a quarter of what is needed.

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