Spanish PM accuses migrants and smugglers of killing border crossers: The attempted border crossing, which resulted in at least 23 fatalities, was stopped by Moroccan and Spanish police last week. Spain’s prime minister is defending this action, calling it “an attack on Spain’s frontiers.”
The prime minister told The Associated Press in an interview, “We must not forget that many of these migrants attacked Spain’s borders with axes and hooks.” We’re talking about an aggressive attempt to breach the fence, therefore the Moroccan guards and state security forces of Spain defended Spain’s borders.
The deaths have been attributed by Moroccan authorities to a “stampede” of individuals that developed early on Friday when hundreds tried to scale or breach the 12-meter (29-foot) iron double barrier.
The wall encloses Melilla, an 85,000-person town situated across the Strait of Gibraltar from the Spanish mainland.
Human rights organizations and nonprofits active in northern Africa have condemned the treatment given to migrants by authorities on both sides. However, they have also laid the responsibility at the feet of Spanish and EU officials, whom they accuse of effectively outsourcing border controls to Morocco and other nations.
Sánchez has refrained from criticizing the crackdown because his left-to-center government is working to mend fences with Morocco after a contentious diplomatic row over Western Sahara.
Sánchez told the AP that he had the families of those who died in mind when speaking at the castle outside of Madrid that serves as both his office and home. However, he accused “international human trafficking networks who are profiting from the pain of human beings who are merely looking for a better life” of being to fault for the catastrophe.
I maintain that these are transnational mafia organizations that are endangering not only Spain’s territorial integrity but also that of Morocco, a nation that is experiencing irregular immigration.
On the eve of hosting NATO leaders for a conference intended to rewrite the defense alliance’s 10-year strategy, Sánchez talked to the Associated Press. At the conference on Wednesday and Thursday, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will be the main topic; however, the group will also discuss its stance on Africa, where Russian mercenaries are raising worries about migration, extremism, the effects of poverty, and climate change.
Social media video depicts how a sizable group of migrants approached and started climbing a portion of the fence. When Moroccan anti-riot police attempted to halt the migrants, several of them threw rocks at them. Many of the migrants are dropped to the earth from a height of several meters when the fence eventually fails.
Spanish guards can also be seen bringing migrants back to the Moroccan side in at least one video made public by the Spanish online news outlet eldiario.es. Human rights activists claim that this practice violates the freedom of refugees to request asylum in Europe.
Numerous young guys, some of whom were still and others barely moving and bleeding as Moroccan security personnel stood over them, are seen in other grisly videos and photographs that have been shared online.
According to their respective governments, at least 76 civilians and 140 security personnel were hurt on the Moroccan side, and 60 National Police and Civil Guard personnel were hurt on the Spanish side. A limited number of African men who managed to get over the fence were transported to a holding facility for migrants in Melilla.
The largest confederation of nations on the continent, the African Union, chaired by Moussa Faki Mahamat, has demanded a probe into the fatalities. Mahamat stated in a tweet that all nations have “obligations under international law to treat all migrants with dignity and to prioritize their safety and human rights while refraining from the use of excessive force,” adding that he wanted to “express my deep shock and concern at the violent and degrading treatment of African migrants.”
While activists assert that the death toll is greater and criticize the EU’s strategy of making agreements with Morocco and other countries like Turkey to manage migration flows, Moroccan authorities report that 23 people died along with a large number of injuries among migrants and border guards.
In a joint statement released by Spanish NGO Walking Borders on Monday, 51 human rights organizations claimed that the fatalities “are the tragic illustration of the European Union’s practices of externalizing its borders, with the collaboration of a southern country, Morocco.”
The statement continued, “The demise of these young Africans at the frontiers of ‘Fortress Europe’ is a warning of the lethal nature of the security collaboration on immigration between Morocco and Spain.
The most recent effort by migrants to cross over in large numbers is being used by Spanish authorities in Melilla as justification for even tighter guarantees about their territorial security. In Ceuta, Spain’s second African enclave city, Moroccan border guards allowed hundreds of individuals to cross in a matter of hours last year when relations between Spain and Morocco were strained.
Since then, there has been much discussion in the Spanish media regarding whether NATO would assist Spain if its control of Melilla and Ceuta were ever threatened.
Eduardo de Castro, the mayor of Melilla, stated on Monday that “Melilla is Europe’s southern frontier and that is why Europe must turn to the south.”