Immigrants seek Spanish Ceuta again after border security is strengthened

Fnideq, Ceuta / Morocco, Spain — Hundreds of migrants pass tight guards on May 19 as Spain urges the expulsion of thousands of people who have swam and climbed into North African outposts in the last two days. I tried to go to Ceuta.

Approximately two-thirds of the approximately 8,000 migrants arriving in Ceuta, including unaccompanied children, have been expelled, but many returning have said they will return to Europe, according to Spanish officials.

Thousands of people gathered in Fnideq, a Moroccan border town near the border with Ceuta, and hundreds of people collided with Moroccan MTFs after dark, throwing stones and burning motorcycles and trash cans, according to Reuters. Wearing.

The influx of immigrants began on May 17, when Morocco appeared to have loosened border control. This move is widely interpreted as a retaliation for Spain’s acceptance of an independent leader in Western Sahara.

In the thick afternoon fog on May 19, hundreds of young men were repulsed by Moroccan police after trying to approach a 6-meter-high (20-foot-high) border barrier.

Others went into the water and began swimming towards the beaches of Ceuta, hundreds of meters (yards) away. Spanish television showed the army meet the boys when they arrived on the shore. According to Spain, Ceuta’s reception center now has about 1,500 underage migrants from this and previous waves.

Located on the northern tip of Morocco, opposite Gibraltar, with a population of 80,000, this excursion is attractive to refugees who are regularly looking for a quick way to Europe. However, Rabat has been cracking down on border traffic in recent years.

“Juice and cake”

“I haven’t lost hope. Ceuta has friends who can stay until they have the opportunity to travel to Spain,” Souhail Abbadi, a man in his twenties from Tangier in northwestern Morocco, told Reuters.

Previously, Spanish police and soldiers escorted Morocco through a long line of Moroccans and other mainly sub-Saharan Africans through the gates.

“We were given juice and cake, that’s it,” said Mohammed of Ait Melloul in southwestern Morocco after sending him back as soon as the Spanish soldiers arrived.

He and many other returnees gathered in Fnideq, where they said they were unaided.

Human rights group Amnesty International said Spanish security forces used violence such as beating and throwing migrants into the sea. He also accused Morocco of using immigrants as pawns in a conflict with Spain.

The migrants interviewed by Reuters said they had been beaten by Spanish security forces before being sent back to Morocco. Reuters journalists watching them arrive in Ceuta on May 19 did not see any beatings or people being thrown into the sea.

Spanish Social Rights Minister Ione Bellare said that many of the migrants still in Ceuta are children, some are seven years old and some have no family.

“Many of them didn’t know the cross-border consequences, and many of them want to go back,” she told broadcaster TVE.

Reuters television footage showed that hundreds of teenagers were being processed in a warehouse where Red Cross officials distributed food and drink.

“What did Spain expect?”

Moroccan Human Rights Minister El Mustapha Ramid proposed late May 18 to justify Rabat’s easing of border control after Brahim Ghali, the leader of the Polisario Front rebels, entered Spain.

“What did Spain expect from Morocco to see its neighbors hosting the heads of armed groups against the kingdom?” He wrote in a Facebook post.

Madrid said it had made a humanitarian decision to allow Morocco-run Western Sahara independence campaign in Gari.

With a further twist, the Spanish High Court summoned Gari on June 1 for a preliminary hearing in a war crimes case, but he refused to sign the documents, Reuters said on May 19. The court document I saw showed.

Sources close to the investigation said he might seek diplomatic immunity under his Algerian passport.

Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez did not link the events in Ceuta to the situation in Gari and called Morocco a friend of Spain, but Rabat recalled the ambassador to Madrid for consultation.

Moroccan authorities did not respond to requests for comment.

Mariano Valladolid & Ahmed Erjektimi

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