Minister responds to massive and violent assault of border in Melilla

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MADRID – Interior Minister Grande-Marlaska on Saturday analysed last Thursday’s attack on the border by nearly 2,000 sub-Saharans in Melilla. Nearly 500 people managed to enter the exclave.

According to the Spanish authorities on the spot, the sudden large number of migrants overwhelmed the Moroccan border guards. Many carried sticks and threw stones. Dozens of people, both migrants, and Spanish agents got injured.

Screws in shoe soles

The migrants, believed to be from sub-Saharan countries, reportedly had attached screws onto the soles of their shoes. Seemingly this was to help them climb the six-metre-high fences. Moreover, video footage shows migrants running cheering into the exclave.

Cops and migrants injured

Minister Marlaska estimated on Saturday that more than 50 officers from the Guardia Civil and 3 from the national police were injured in the assault of the fence that is the border between Morocco and the Spanish enclave. He stressed that “a democratic state cannot allow its borders and its officials to be attacked by force”. Therefore, he concluded that the action of the Guardia Civil was “proportionate” and “necessary” after the “unusual violence”.

Cops hit migrant with batons

Images of the mob that emerged on Thursday circulated in various media, including Spanish television, show a group of Guardia Civil agents beating an immigrant with their batons. That happened after he was already on the ground on the Spanish side.

Cogesa Expats

According to the minister, the “screws” and “big sticks” used by the migrants posed a “great risk to the integrity of the agents”. Grande-Marlaska attributed these attacks to “extraordinary and exceptional phenomena”, as it is working “perfectly” with Morocco to prevent illegal entry into Spanish territory.

Migration pressure increased

The minister also said that with the covid pandemic, “migration pressure has increased even more” at the Moroccan borders. This in turn has an impact on the pressure on the Spanish borders. Both countries will “evaluate” the recent massive storming of the border this week. The hundreds of migrants are now waiting in a detention centre for what will happen next.

These kinds of assaults at the fences between Morocco and Melilla and Ceuta, the other Spanish enclave, have been happening for years. Migrants hope in this way to reach the Spanish mainland and thus further into the European Union.

Related post: More than 7,300 illegal migrants have arrived in Spain this year

Last year, another diplomatic conflict erupted between Spain and Morocco, with Morocco opening the border and allowing thousands of migrants to enter Spain.

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