Posted by CODEPINK Staff
At 5:00 pm on June 28, 2011, CODEPINK kicked off a 24 hour/day vigil outside of the Greek embassy in Washington, D.C. Equipped with large protest signs, candles, and pink flowers, people gathered to show their support for the passengers of the US boat to Gaza, aptly named the Audacity of Hope. For days the Greek government has prevented these activists from leaving the Athens port and sailing to Gaza. Disseminating false claims that the Freedom Flotilla II is a provocative measure that effectively endangers Israeli security, the Israeli and US governments have pressured the Greek government to prevent all flotilla ships from sailing out of its ports.
In order to sabotage the Freedom Flotilla II, the Israeli government has unleashed its powerful propaganda machine with the hopes of winning media favorability. Israeli authorities have even gone so far as to suggest that the Audacity of Hope may be carrying chemical weapons. In truth, the Freedom Flotilla II is intended to draw attention to the inhumane and unjust Israeli blockade of Gaza, a goal it has already accomplished. The obstruction of the flotilla has sparked the global production of news stories that have exposed Israel as the ruthless regional bully that it is.
Determined to spread awareness of the obstacles placed in front of the resilient flotilla activists, CODEPINKers from all around the DC metropolitan area have gathered in front of the Greek embassy over the past few days. The entire first night, activist Tighe Barry stayed awake, holding a sign that read, "Stop Israeli Meddling In Greek Affairs!" On the second day of the vigil, activists garnered audible support with a sign that urged the passerby to "HONK FOR THE FLOTILLA!" At least every one in five cars honked its horn in support.
Throughout the entire affair, countless people rolled down their car windows, offering words of support and encouragement. "It’s the right thing to do," a man shouted across Mass Ave. "Greece cannot afford to be doing that!" another man exclaimed, completely bewildered that the Greek government would spend time and resources to block the boats’ passage. Mostly, though, people voice their thanks that someone is taking a stand. "Thank you for being here" men and women said time and again.
And the vigil was significant. It might not have compelled Greek embassy officials to call their affiliates in Greece and urge them to let the Audacity of Hope sail, however, the vigil has certainly given a face to the Freedom Flotilla II in our nation’s capital.