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Migrants on Ceuta’s border pressure Spain


FILE - In this May 19, 2021 file photo, migrants are surrounded by Spanish security forces on a beach after arriving at the Spanish enclave of Ceuta, near the border of Morocco and Spain. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue, File)

At least 40 migrants attempted on Wednesday to reach Ceuta, the North African enclave in Spain.

The migrants came from Morocco and threw rocks at Spanish Police, local media said.

The local media highlighted that authorities in Spain had been busy with hundreds of unaccompanied minors who arrived in Ceuta three months ago.

The migrants swam next to a sea barrier at night to reach European land on Tuesday.

Then, they attacked, with stones, the police officers on duty, and injured one of them.

This migration wave from Morocco is not a first, as attempts to cross from sub-Saharan Africa to Ceuta are common.

These waves have raised tensions between Spain and Morocco over whether the latter is doing enough to prevent them.

Both countries have several police patrols around the fenced sea barriers.

Spain needs to cooperate with Morocco to repress the high number of migrants gathering at its borders.

Spain is also pressured by migrants who attempt to reach the Canary Islands from northwestern Africa.

Migrants’ conditions in Ceuta

Nearly 10,000 migrants arrived in Ceuta in May either by climbing the border or swimming around it.

Juan Jesús Vivas, Head of Ceuta’s regional government, said Wednesday, “the children are living in inappropriate conditions.”

“Most of them are staying in temporary housing, but others are sleeping in the street,” he added.

Authorities in Ceuta say they cannot keep up with the huge number of migrants entering illegally.

“The situation in Ceuta is truly unsustainable,” Vivas said during a news conference, referring to the migrant pressure in Ceuta.

He said Ceuta felt like it was “at the edge of an abyss” and needs “immediate solutions.”

Early this month, authorities in Spain started sending minors back to Morocco.

This triggered harsh criticism from refugee rights organizations.

They considered the returns illegal because they were in groups, without warning and without a legal counsel provision.

A Spanish court postponed the returns pending legal confirmation from the government.

However, the court insisted the children were sent back per a 2007 agreement with Morocco for returning minors.

Vivas, the Ceuta chief, met Wednesday in Madrid with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez to find a legal solution to the stalemate.

On Wednesday, Vivas met with the Spanish PM, Pedro Sánchez, in Madrid to discuss legal solutions.

Vivas said the PM assured him that the government will ensure the minors return to Morocco, adding that there’s no other solution.


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