Protesters gathered outside the Israeli consulate to demand the expulsion of the Israeli embassador in response to this morning’s news that the humanitarian Freedom Flotilla bound for Gaza had been attacked by the Israeli military. Many of the ships and passengers aboard the aid convoy, including those wounded in the attack, are Turkish. The Israeli Navy’s assault on the Turkish aids ships, unprovoked and over international waters, could be considered an act of war. Turkey’s Foreign Ministry has condemned the raid, but so far the Israeli Government has made no public statement about the operation.
Protesters in Istanbul struggled against Turkish police in front of the Israeli consulate, shouting ‘Damn Israel.’ The protest was fueled by the stream of cellphone calls and ‘tweets’ keeping protesters informed of events aboard the Flotilla as they unfolded.
Protests are reported at other Israeli consulates around Europe, but so far the demonstration in Istanbul is the largest. br />
The protesters called Israel’s attack on the non-violent activists an act of piracy because the attack took place in international waters.
Before setting sail for Gaza, every ship in the Flotilla was thoroughly searched. Passengers were cleared and and all aid was fully inspected. The mission was fully humanitarian in nature, and the activists generally adhered to principles of non-violence and passive resistance as their ships were raided.