Sunday, February 5

Marlaska defends the police action at the Melilla fence after the images of the beating of a migrant

The Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, has defended the actions of the security forces deployed in the last two jumps to the Melilla fence, after the images of the beating given by several Civil Guard agents to a man of sub-Saharan origin as he lowered himself, defenseless, from the Spanish side of the six-meter-high barbed wire. Marlaska has accused the migrants of using “unusual violence” in the entry attempts last Wednesday and Thursday.

The minister, who has referred to the attempt to enter Melilla as an “assault”, has stated that such numerous jumps had “never been seen”. According to data from the Government Delegation in the autonomous city, on Wednesday 2,500 people tried to get around the Melilla fence on Wednesday. On Thursday, 1,800 tried to cross it. These data are an estimate made by the Civil Guard. Of these, 491 and 380 people managed to enter the autonomous city each day.

In his defense of police action, the head of the Interior has highlighted the “violence” used by those who tried to enter Melilla. “Unusual violence, equipped with hooks, with sticks larger than the defenses of the civil guards, who were helped by the National and Local Police. In their shoes they also carried aggressive material, screws,” the minister detailed. “This has nothing to do with people looking to find a new life, but always in a peaceful way,” added Grande-Marlaska, at a time when the Government and the entire European Union have been committed to welcoming refugees from the Ukrainian war.

It is common for those who try to jump the Melilla fence -which is between six and ten meters high- to use the elements mentioned by the minister as support to climb the fence, an increasingly difficult task due to the border reinforcement promoted during the last years. Immigrants, faced with the impossibility of accessing Spain legally, have been using hooks for years to insert them into the cracks in the fence and devise footwear adorned with screws to facilitate climbing.

When this medium comments on this information to the Government Delegation in Ceuta, the institution emphasizes that on this occasion the hooks were “sharper”, some migrants had “bags with stones” and “lime”. As he says, the Civil Guard has transferred that this entry was characterized by “greater violence” by its participants.

According to figures from the Government Delegation, the first jump left 27 civil guards and 20 migrants injured with injuries of varying degrees but none seriously. In the second attempt, 23 agents and 36 migrants were injured. All these numbers correspond to the Spanish side of the border. On the Moroccan side, there have been “many injured” and “some seriously” who have been admitted to the El Hassani Hospital in Nador, according to humanitarian sources. The state of the boy who, as reflected in the images, was beaten by the Civil Guard this Thursday is unknown. This medium has asked the Government Delegation in Melilla if he is in Spain or has been returned hot, but the spokesman did not know the answer.

The video is recorded during the day this Thursday, when 1,800 migrants again tried to enter through the border. In the images a young man appears who has managed to cross over to the Spanish side of the fence and lowers himself little by little, under the gaze of several riot police. When he gets up to his outstretched arms, some of the officers start gassing him and hitting him with batons on his legs.

The young man refuses to go down, but ends up falling to the ground, where about a dozen agents reduce him and beat him with batons and shields for at least 30 seconds, according to what can be seen in the video, despite the fact that the person it is completely unarmed, until they manage to reduce it.

Same speech as the PP

It is not the first time that a minister accuses the migrants who jump the border fences of Ceuta and Melilla of “unusual violence”. In October 2014, the Government Delegation in Melilla, then under the mandate of the Popular Party, released a statement that expressed itself in the same words that Grande-Marlaska used this Friday. “With unusual aggressiveness, armed with stones, sticks, knives, hooks, ropes and other blunt objects, they managed to overtake the Moroccan security forces,” read an official note. The Minister of the Interior at the time was Jorge Fernández Díaz.

In this type of entry attempt, it is not uncommon for several agents to be injured during the operation, due to the characteristics of this type of entry of hundreds of people coordinated to jump a border fence. In fact, the agents of the Civil Guard stationed in Ceuta and Melilla charge a plus of dangerousness. To this is added the characteristics of the last two jumps of the Melilla fence, carried out by 2,500 and 1,800 people respectively.