Anti-immigration activists in Europe are trying to disrupt the flow of migrant boats from north Africa to Europe.
A group of Tunisian fishermen do not like that idea and on Sunday prevented a ship carrying the far-right activists from docking at Zarzis, according to a French News Agency, or AFP, report.
“It's the least we can do given what is happening out in the Mediterranean,” the head of the local fishermen's organization told AFP. “Muslims and Africans are dying.”
A port official said, “What? Us let in racists here? Never.”
AFP said the C-Star, a boat chartered for the activists by the extremist group Generation Identity, is moving up the Tunisian coast and is expected to try to dock elsewhere to pick up supplies to continue its mission.
The far-right activists say their goal is to expose collaboration between NGO rescue ships and traffickers who launch boats from Libya packed with migrants.
AFP reports the C-Star “briefly tailed” a vessel operated by a French NGO in an area of the Mediterranean where deadly immigrant boat accidents have occurred.
Humanitarian groups chalked up the C-Star's activities to a publicity stunt and warn that any attempt to turn back migrant boats could be extremely dangerous and illegal under international law.
Judith Sunderland, the associate director of the Europe and Central Asia Division of Human Rights Watch, said in a report earlier this year that “the logic of those who criticize the rescue operations as a pull factor is that the groups should stop rescuing people and let them drown to discourage others from coming.” She said, “That is no more moral than planting landmines on a border to discourage people from crossing it.”