Thousands of anti-Israel protesters take to streets across Europe
'We want justice for our comrades killed!' says Berlin protester. 'We insist on an end to the insane blockade of Gaza and freedom for our brother Palestinians.'
BERLIN - From Frankfurt to Berlin to Dusseldorf - thousands of anti-Israel protesters marched across Germany on Saturday, hoisting Palestinian flags and calling for action against the "massacre" aboard the Mavi Marmara.
There are an estimated 2.8 million Turks or Germans of Turkish origin in Germany. Eleven Germans were aboard the Mavi Marmara.
"We want justice for our comrades killed!" said Hamit Savas, a kefiyyeh-wearing protester in Berlin. "We insist on an end to the insane blockade of Gaza and freedom for our brother Palestinians."
Paris, London and Dublin saw similar protests. In Dublin, protesters were angry not only about the Marmara, but also about Israel's stopping the Rachel Corrie yesterday, which carried Irish activists.
In Sweden, dockworkers announced yesterday that Israeli ships trying to dock and unload goods would be "ignored" next week. A spokesman for the 1,500 strong Swedish Port Workers Union said it's workers are being told to refuse handling Israeli goods and ships during the June 15-24 boycott. A union spokesman, Peter Annerback, said the dock workers would use "detective work" to figure out if any Israeli goods were arriving on non-Israeli ships. He urged other unions to join in similar initiatives. Seven Swedish citizens were detained on board the Gaza-bound flotilla.
Norway announced yesterday it was canceling an upcoming special operations seminar because the Defense Ministry objected to the inclusion of an Israeli army officer in the program. A spokeswoman, Maj. Heidi Langvik-Hansen, said it was "not the right time" to hear a talk by an Israeli officer [identified only as Colonel Toledano].
In England, in Bournemouth, a coastal resort town with a large Jewish population and a Jewish mayor, there were calls yesterday to cut the city's twinning links with Netanya. In a letter to the local Daily Echo, resident Tony Williams charged that "the latest atrocity' illustrated Israel's "contempt not only for the rule of law but for the opinions of civilized nations throughout the world." Williams said: "Next year in Bournemouth we shall be electing councillors, and it is essential that all candidates standing for election state their position on the Palestine-Israel conflict."
Mayor Barry Golbart said people should work for a "peaceful solution." Golbart said: "Speaking personally, and not as mayor, my position is that I am not an Israeli; I'm a Jewish man living in England. It is an extremely sorry state of affairs, whatever the rights and wrongs of it," he told the Echo.