Human Rights
Society 18/05/2021

Spanish government mobilises army in Ceuta after more than 6,000 migrants swim in

It is the highest number of migrant arrivals by sea in the state and about 1,500 are minors

ARA
2 min
Spanish Legionaris patrol the area near the Tarajal beach fence

BARCELONAYesterday, Ceuta experienced an unprecedented entry of people swimming or walking along the two border breakwaters with Morocco. As reported by the government Delegation, about 5,000 Moroccans entered the city and the president of Ceuta has raised the figure above 6,000, in statements to the SER. Of this total, some 1,500 could be minors. Until now, the highest number of arrivals of migrants by sea in the State had been experienced in November, when in two days 2,188 people arrived at the Canary Islands. The situation led to the decision yesterday to mobilise the army to assist in controlling of the streets in Ceuta, with several units deployed. The Delegation of the Spanish government in the city calls for "calm".

The Spanish President, Pedro Sánchez, who has suspended the trip he had planned to make to Paris to participate in a summit on economic aid to Africa, has guaranteed in a tweet "maximum firmness" to maintain security in the area. Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska will travel to Ceuta after the Council of Ministers. Marlaska has assured TVE that 1,500 people who entered Ceuta have already been returned to Morocco

The minister has also detailed that today 200 police reinforcements will arrive to the area - 150 National Police and 50 Guardia Civil officers - to complement the staff of 1,100 regulars that are in usually in Ceuta. Mixed patrols have already been set up with agents of the armed forces with the aim of maintaining safety in the area.

Yesterday at eight o'clock in the evening, more than 2,700 people had already arrived at the border breakwater in Ceuta and the entries by sea continued without the agents of the National Police and the Guardia Civil being able to reject them. This forced the Local Police to cut off the road access to the area. The maritime service of the Civil Guard had to rescue some people in the water who were trying to reach Ceuta swimming with difficulties.

Sources of the Delegation of the government have said to Efe that it is one of the most critical and unprecedented migratory days that Ceuta has had to face in recent years.

Immediate reinforcement of troops

The top representatives of the Ministry of Home Affairs, including Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska, met urgently yesterday Monday with senior officials of the National Police and the Civil Guard to respond to the situation in Ceuta. At this meeting it was agreed to immediately send in additional police force in to area, which will add 200 units to the most susceptible places of passage.

The Spanish and Moroccan authorities have already agreed to return Moroccan citizens who arrive in Ceuta swimming. Since the beginning of 2021 there have been several entries swimming from Morocco, the last one was on April 27. Even so, it had been fifteen years since an arrival as voluminous as that of this Monday, coinciding with the absence of surveillance of the coast by the Moroccan authorities, reports Efe.

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