Society 21/05/2021

Spain deploys the army in Melilla after dozens of people jumped the fence

Home Affairs Minister says 6,500 of the 8,000 people who entered through Ceuta have already been returned to Morocco

ARA
2 min
Two youngsters jump the Ceuta fence

BarcelonaMelilla has experienced the fourth consecutive night of migratory pressure on its border perimeter, the first with the Spanish army deployed to reinforce surveillance and control, reports Efe. Unlike the last two nights, in which attempts to enter could be thwarted, this Thursday night part of those who have managed to approach the border perimeter at different points have been able to access the city. There is no official data on how many people have participated, but the Home Affairs Minister, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, has mentioned that around thirty have succeeded. Marlaska has assured that all of them will be "located" and "returned" to Morocco.

The Delegation of the Spanish government in Melilla only confirms that "the anti-intrusion device has been activated", but without giving more details. If it is confirmed that it has happened in this way, it would be the first time that such a large group of Moroccans has tried to access Melilla like this - a modus operandi that until now was used mainly by sub-Saharan Africans.

Meanwhile, in Ceuta border controls have been re-established and irregular entries from Morocco have been stopped, but the humanitarian crisis is far from over, with thousands of people left on this side of the line, without any help or public attention. The situation is especially serious among minors, the most vulnerable group and who by law must have special protection. The government of Pedro Sánchez has asked the communities to accept 200 children who had arrived in the autonomous city prior to the current humanitarian crisis and who are in shelters to make room for those who have entered now. For the moment there has been no information on the number of unaccompanied minors in Ceuta, many of whom have to sleep in the open, in squares or on the beach itself.

Express and massive returns

As for the adults, the Spanish and Moroccan governments have agreed to their return in groups of 40 every two hours, starting this process from ten o'clock this Friday morning. This is a voluntary return, as they themselves explain to Efe, after realising that the expectations that made them jump into the sea a few days ago to start a new life in Ceuta were just siren songs. In the autonomous city, they have received no help or means to subsist and have not even found a roof over their heads.

According to what the Minister of Home Affairs has explained to the Cope channel, of the more than 8,000 people who crossed the border of Ceuta between Monday and Tuesday, 6,500 have already been returned, among whom he insists that there are no minors, despite the fact that there are NGOs that question this version. "This is not about hot returns. They are refusals at the border, which are different things", said Grande-Marlaska to defend himself from human rights organisations that accuse Spain of breaking its own laws to give individualised treatment to each migrant to identify them and check their circumstances in the country of origin because, if they fit the criteria, they can apply for asylum.

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