Ban on ships for Gaza 'to protect activists'
Athens - Greece said it acted to protect pro-Palestinian activists when it banned all Gaza-bound ships from leaving its ports for a second day on Saturday.
The outraged activists meanwhile, seemed divided over how to respond to the ban.
Greece's Civil Protection Authority confirmed on Saturday that the ban on departures of ships "with Greek and foreign flags from Greek ports to the maritime area of Gaza" was in place "until further notice".
The ban had been imposed in light of "the need to protect national interests" as well as "the immediate dangers to human life posed by the attempt to break the blockade", a statement said.
It cited Israel's "declaration to use violence against those who attempt to break the blockade", as well as a United Nations plea for member states on the Mediterranean "to use their influence to discourage" the mission.
Activists have accused Israeli secret services of keeping the mission grounded through a campaign of harassment and dirty tricks, including "sabotage" attempts on two boats and a slew of bureaucratic problems.
But they appeared divided over how to react to the obstacles facing them.
While some activists called for an immediate departure, others argued the futility of defying the Greek ban.