Anti-Israel protesters block Athens flight

By Jennifer Lipman, July 14, 2010
The El Al flight took off two hours late because of the protest

The El Al flight took off two hours late because of the protest

Greek pro-Palestinian protesters delayed a flight to Israel for two hours by staging a demonstration against the situation in Gaza at the airport.

The Tel Aviv bound El Al plane could not take off on time after the group from a Communist backed union obstructed five counters, preventing passengers from checking in their luggage.

Police at Athens International Airport did not intervene but there were no reports of violence.

Giorgos Pontikos, a representative of the union, said: "This was an action taken in solidarity with the Palestinian people and their effort to establish a Palestinian state".

An El Al spokesman said the check in desks reopened as soon as the protest ended.

He said: “At no stage was there any danger to the flight, the customers or the employees.

“El Al takes the security of flights and the safety of passengers seriously and this would not have been compromised at any stage.”

The stand-off follows an incident in June when Turkey blocked from its airspace a plane carrying Israeli officers to Poland on a Holocaust memorial trip.

Last updated: 12:30pm, July 14 2010