Official sources reported that more than 150 migrants stormed the border fence dividing Morocco from Spain’s north African enclave of Ceuta.
It is estimated that the number of men who attempted to cross the fence was higher, but only 150 migrants were able to force their way past the double fence which is six metres high, 8.4 kilometers long and topped with concertina wire.
“They are all from sub-Saharan Africa, the majority from Guinea,” a spokesman for the central government’s office in Ceuta told AFP.
“Around 250 migrants tried to jump over the fence and some 155 made it. It has not been as violent as in the past. However, at least six police officers and some migrants were slightly injured.”
According to the local daily El Faro de Ceuta, seven of them got tangled up in the concertina wire and began yelling “Spain, Spain!” and “Friend, friend!” while others begged the Civil Guard officers to let them pass.
After crossing the fence, migrants ran at full speed to the city’s temporary migrant reception center (CETI). Government officials also said that with the arrival of 150 migrants, the capacity of the migrant centre has exceeded its limit.
The Civil Guard union (AUGC) expressed alarm at the Ceuta incident and emphasised the lack of resources:
“The rush on the fence was conducted in a violent manner, with hand-to-hand confrontations [with officers] and using hooks, sticks and acid. This latest organized assault newly evidences the need for technical and human reinforcements in border cities, as AUGC has been demanding for years.”
The union also called for acting interior minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska to establish “a clear and unequivocal protocol of action on the borders of Ceuta and Melilla” and “to take a stand on pushback policy. It is urgent for officers to be afforded greater legal protection in the daily job they do at border crossings.”