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Citizen flotilla rises up in Catania against C-Star’s racist mission

When: Saturday from 11.30 to 12.30 in the morning

Where: Free beach of Catania slot Nº1

What: Around 100 boats, including sailboats, kayaks and canoes, will set sail outside the port of Catania in a demonstration against Defend Europe's C-Star vessel mission. Defend Europe is a far-right outfit with an anti-Muslim, extreme agenda. They’ve chartered a boat to interfere with humanitarian work and put the lives of migrants at risk. Catanian citizens will launch a coordinated call (“L’urlo di Catania”) from the sea, urging the EU to close all Mediterranean ports to Defend Europe, and support humanitarian NGOs in their rescue missions. The call will be followed by a minute of silence to warn about the refugee deaths that “Defend Europe” and new EU policies could lead to.

**Media interested in covering the protest from the sea, please write to patricia.martin@avaaz.org

Background:

Defend Europe is an attempt by far-right activists to monitor and disrupt humanitarian rescue ships operating in the Mediterranean Sea. These far-right activists, who come from a pan-European movement known as ‘Identitarians’, believe that humanitarian NGOs are colluding with human traffickers to transport migrants and refugees into Europe.

This right-wing extremist group is planning to land in the coming days at Catania's harbor, then go on to prevent NGO ships from assisting migrants in danger. Volunteers, grassroots associations, unions, migrant workers, faith groups, and youth, will gather in a flotilla to show extremists that migrants, not hate, are welcome.

No one knows exactly when this extremist group will arrive, as the ship and its crew just left Cyprus. But the plan to raise the voice of Catania and other Italian villages is in place, with the hope that the message will reach  the bow of this ship of hate.

Interviews will be available with Luca Nicotra – Senior Campaigner, Avaaz, in Catania.

For more information and to arrange interviews,please contact: Patricia Martin Diaz on 0034 629 02 45 21 or email patricia.martin@avaaz.org // or the media team at media@avaaz.org