A SAILBOAT on its way to Gaza to raise awareness of the plight of Palestinians will be greeted by campaigners tomorrow.

But plans for it to dock at Brighton Marina had to be changed at the last minute after no berth could be found.

The Brighton and Hove Palestine Solidarity Campaign (BHPSC), together with the international Freedom Flotilla Coalition, will greet the vessel, one of four boats sailing from Scandinavia to Gaza this summer.

Like international flotillas to Gaza in previous years, this aims to raise international awareness of the Israeli government’s 11-year blockade of Gaza and to put pressure on the international community to end the blockade.

The boat, Freedom, is scheduled to arrive in Brighton at about 4pm today and will stay in the area for three nights, departing for its onward voyage to Gaza on Friday.

However a vessel currently undertaking dredging in Brighton Marina has taken the only berth big enough for the twin-sail boat, which will now make port in Shoreham.

But plans for a “sail past” at the marina remain.

Steve Jones, branch secretary of the BHPSC, said: “In response to the brutal Israeli blockade, for seven years the Freedom Flotilla Coalition has carried out non violent direct actions aimed at raising international awareness and putting pressure on the international community to end the blockade.

“We sail this year for the right to a just future for Palestine.

“We will continue to put pressure on our governments and protest their complicity with Israel’s crimes against humanity.

“We sail again to stand with the Palestinians of Gaza, as they demand their freedom of movement and their right to a just future in their land”.

The Freedom is one of four boats taking part in the flotilla and the only one being brought to English territorial waters.

During its stay in Sussex, activists and crew from Freedom will meet politicians and campaigners to convey the message of solidarity at the heart of the flotilla’s journey.

There will be a public meeting tomorrow night at 7.30pm at the Friends Meeting House in Ship Street, Brighton, with activists and crew from “Freedom” as well as prominent supporters in the UK.

The flotilla left the Norwegian port of Bergen on April 30 and will reach the Gaza Strip in July.