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interview with an activist from FreeGaza flotila who return back in Athens today

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Describe what happened from the moment the attack took place?

The attack of the israeli troops started a little before 5 of the Monday morning, within international waters, 70 miles from the shore of Gaza. Their initial target was the large turkish vessel, which carried most of the people, and later on all the other boats. The attack started with real fireshots resulting in all those deaths. They embarked on the two passenger boats and the turkish ships and later they came down on us too, onto the "Free Mediterranean". We kept going despite their warnings, as Israel has no right on conducting supervisional searches outside it's shoreline or to stop ships. And this must be condemned by the entire international community. Israel cannot act as the sheriff of the area, and to prohibit any access to the Gaza strip. The commandos boarded the ship from inflated boats, they abused us and led us to a port, at Askond, and from then on the psychologican war began, with the threat "we either deport you now or you go to jail". Some of us chose to leave earlier in order to publisize the issue in Greece, whereas others chose to remain there as they do not recognize any Israeli sovereign in international waters. The captives of Israel did not act under any premise of illegitimacy, it is Israel who arrested them illegally. At the port I know for sure that Vaggelis Pissias, Yiannis Karipidis and two more foreign activists,  the american who also played a part at the "Gaza we are coming" documentary, and the swedish saxophon player of Israeli descent. They abused those in front of us in what soon became a lynching by coast guard officers, soldiers, policemen, about  500 individuals. And I am not exaggerating when I am talking about these 500 people.


At the welcoming area of the port. In a large entrance, when we had just arrived at the port. That is were they hit them.

Why did they hit them?

Vaggelis Pissias was hit because he refused to provide them with his fingerprints. They abused badly more though, and I was able to notice that they also injected some others. They had us blocked at a distance, all that  mass of policemen and soldiers and thus we were not able to see clearly. Nonetheless, I saw them inject the american activist in order to incapacitate him.

And what about the electroshocks mentioned on television, is that true?

It is, yes, but that didn't happen on the boat. They did that to Mihalis Tiktopoulos. They electroshocked him right in front of me. He was just walking and in order to get him out of the port sooner, a soldier took out a gun generating electricity and stunned him.

And from the time you reached the port? What was the situation then?

Unbearable psychological pressure. I' ve never lived anything like it in my entire life, this country is dominated by the  military. I am talking about incredible military force everywhere. The exit of the airport, short of speak, was crowded with policemen. This thing is unbeliavable. It is a military state.

Something to conclude Aris. Those remaining inside, those denying to sign, what is the procedure for them? What is going to happen to them? Where have they been transferred?

They have been taken to prison. They will be contacted today by the embassy and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and they will come in touch with the lawyer. When we requested to see a lawyer or someone from the embassy they denied it. Today the Ministry of Foreign Affairs claimed that they would allow its people to contact those imprisoned. It was a hellish situation. They tried to make you break and sign the deportation papers or do whatever else they wanted.


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