Flotilla Activists: Greeks describe Unprecedented Violence

Proto Thema/Greeks Press Conference

Translated from newspaper “Proto Thema” Online:

“We came back from Hell

Only one step away from hell came the first six Greek activists who returned from Israel and who experienced the attacke by the Israeli armed forces against the international flotilla carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza.

Four of the Greeks describe the nightmare they experienced on board of the Free Mediterranean (Eleftheri Mesogeios) and Sfendoni : unprecedented scenes of horror and gratuitous violence.

The shocking testimony of people who lived through the ultimate nightmare describe beatings, massive use of plastic bullets during the occupation by Israeli commandos ships, torture, electric shocks and a ban on any communication while in detaintion!

The first Greeks who witnessed yesterday’s bloodbath when they landed shortly after 9 am Tuesday at the “Eleftherios Venizelos”, condemned the illegal detention of Greeks in Ashdod Israel .  Tuesday afternoon hold a press conference.

These are Stylianakis Zachary, Chrysohoides Nektarios Grigoropoulos Michael Papadokostopoulo Aristides, Gelali Dimitrios Petrogiannis Thanasis.

“We went to offer help. According to Israelis,  80 miles off  Israels’ coast  is International Israeli territory and they told us that we have entered the country illegally. Those  still in prison have refused to sign. They will be tried in 10-15 days” said Thanos Petrogiannis, engineer, adding that the humanitarian aid carried by ships bound for the Gaza Strip have been seized.

Activist Michael Grigoropoulos spoke also about the use of force.

“We were in international waters. The Israelis  hijacked the vessel. They took us hostages with guns to our heads. I was the steersman of the boat. They climbed down the boat  from helicopters, dropping tear gas and real amunition.. We resisted, we could not do anything against the commandos.

He said that the Israelis have used electric shock to those who tried to create a human shield in front of the bridge. About the conditions of detention he stated:

They didn’t allow us to go to the toilet, neither eat and or drink water , they were filming us on video.” “They confiscated everything.  I was left only with my papers. They took mobiles, laptops, cameras and personal belongings”, he added.

He also said that he refused to sign the documents submitted by the Israelis and said that he was deported against his will.

“Tehy didn’t let me contact a lawyer or to the Greek embassy,” he said and continued, accusing the Greek government. “On trial will go all who refused to sign the documents of Israel. The Greek Government has done nothing to safeguard the Greek ships. It did nothing to hinder the Israelis come on a Greek ship ”

“If somone dared to stand up the Israelis would attack. We raised our hands like children, if we wanted to go to toilets after hours of beiing there, “says Mr. Gelalis.

After a 12-hour trip, proving that the seizure of ships were in international waters, the ships reached the Israeli port of Ashdod.

There a second round of beating took place for those who  refused to give fingertips or who refused to sign a declaration, written in Hebrew, in he would regret the attack against Israel. They threatened that anyone who does not sign, will go on trial.

The four men accused the Greek government that “it gave  Greek territory to a foreign state“, then all the efforts of the ship captains to communicate with the Foreign Ministry -when the attack started on the Turkish ship -proved fruitless.

“Nobody picked up the phone … In the interrogation area, where they were 663 activists, only U.S. embassy officials appeared with a strong interest in the fate of their citizens. “


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2 Responses to “Flotilla Activists: Greeks describe Unprecedented Violence”

  1. Tom Kelly Says:

    I would like to know all these greek activists how can they afford to take all this time away from their jobs? Do they have jobs? How are they making a living? What is their source of income?

    Before all these questions can be answered, I side with The Israelis.

    We common people can hardly take time for vacation.

  2. keeptalkinggreece Says:

    Taking into consideration that there were some 760 activists on the ships I could say the same ‘working’ conditions apply for all.

    Cool down, Tom!

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