The last three French citizens on the Gaza activists’ aid flotilla were bundled out a Paris airport on their return by Police in riot gear, quashing any hopes of a fanfare welcome home that many pro-Palestinian activists had been hoping for.
At 6.35pm Thursday evening, the last three French nationals (there were ten in total) from the Gaza activists’ aid flotilla landed at Terminal 1 of Roissy Charles de Gaulle. At 6:45pm they had already left the airport. French police in full riot gear surrounded the pro-Palestinian activists and rushed them out of the airport the moment they landed without giving them any time to make a statement to the press.
In the crowd waiting to welcome them came a few cries of "long live Palestine" as the activists were bundled out of the bustling airport.
The fanfare welcome home that many pro-Palestinian activists in France had waited overnight for came abruptly to an end.
This return was markedly different to that of a few hours earlier, when the first three French members of the activists’ flotilla had landed in Paris. The police had been less prepared for the level of interest and the three activists had been allowed to speak to the press. Salah Berbagui, Mounia Cherif (pictured above) and Miloud Zenasni made a point of telling the press about the "extreme and disproportionate violence" of the Israeli raid. Cherif, a member of a Palestinian aid organisation, told reporters that Israeli soldiers had "used batons and tasers" on the activists.
Among the French citizens on the second flight, Thomas Sommer- Houdeville, a member of the International Campaign for the Protection of the Palestinian people, later told AFP that the Israeli soldiers "did not fire real bullets, but acted with great violence."
Date created : 2010-06-04