Protesters gathered Monday evening in central Ramallah to celebrate the release of hunger striking prisoner Khader Adnan and to express solidarity with the activists from one of the boats of the Freedom Flotilla III coalition, which are destined for Gaza to break the siege.
Marianne, a Swedish vessel from the city of Gothenburg, was approached early Monday by three Israeli military boats in international waters, intercepted by the IOF and diverted to Ashdod.
“We are protesting tonight in solidarity with the activists. We demand their release” said Lema Nazeeh, board member of the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee who organized the protest, to PNN.
Protesters from the village of Bil’in, including children, built their own version of Marianne of Gothenburg with wooden painted plates surrounding a large vehicle. It took around 10 hardworking people just one day to complete, explained Mohammad Khatib from Bil’in, who was in charge of the construction. On board were the children who built it.
The Marianne that sailed off from the port of Gothenburg was carrying humanitarian aid and solar panels as the Gaza strip lacks electricity and has been blockaded by Israel since 2006, when Hamas won the elections against their rivals, Fatah.
In a statement, the Israeli military reported that “use of force was unnecessary” and that “the process was uneventful”.
The Freedom Flotilla Coalition released a statement refuting that of the Israeli military, saying:
“We have no reason to believe that Marianne’s capture was “uneventful”, because the last time the IDF said something like that, in 2012, the people on board the “Estelle” were badly tasered and beaten with clubs. Back in 2010, ten passengers of Mavi Marmara were murdered by the IDF during a similar operation in international waters”.
They condemned Israel’s seizure of the boat, calling it an “act of state piracy” and a “violation of international maritime law”.