Almost three months after the death of at least 23 people at the Melilla fence, the Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, has appeared for the first time in Congress to officially explain what happened on June 24 at the border Spanish-Moroccan. In his first intervention, however, he did not give new information about the circumstances in which the deaths occurred and in his account of the events he highlighted the alleged “violence” that, according to his defense, characterized the jump attempt that ended in tragedy.
The minister, who has lamented the “loss of human lives”, has stressed that on June 24 there was an “intolerable and violent attempt” of irregular entry of 1,700 migrants and, as he has defended, the response of the Spanish authorities was ” firm, serene and proportionate”.
Although the head of the Interior has used his appearance to present a chronology of the events, the information has not delved into the moment in which the deaths occurred or the possible causes. Grande-Marlaska reiterates on several occasions the alleged “violent” nature of those who tried to cross the fence in a jump in which at least 23 refugees or migrants died and hundreds more were injured, while 55 agents suffered injuries of varying degrees on both sides. of the border.
The minister has also not made any mention of the action of the Moroccan authorities to stop the jump, whose violence has been documented in images and denounced by the survivors of the tragedy. The head of the Interior has focused his speech on highlighting the use of “stones and sticks” by refugees and migrants, as well as the way in which hundreds of them managed to cross the fence and enter Spanish soil.
“Spain is a country in solidarity with people who flee their country due to violence and persecution and is welcoming to those who do so peacefully. We are a democratic country that in no way can allow its border perimeters and its security forces to be attacked in a violent and intolerable way”, he justified.
Since his arrival at the Ministry of the Interior, Grande-Marlaska has considered any jump over the fence as a “violent” entry, however, for many people there is no other way to request protection in Spain than to use the clandestine route. While the arrivals by sea are responded to by the Government in a “humane” manner, the land jumps (cheaper since the groups of migrants tend to self-organize without having to pay traffic networks) are responded to with hot returns and the use of material riot gear. The majority of people who tried to get around the Melilla fence on June 24 were Sudanese, a nationality that usually obtains asylum in Spain (91% of positive responses). They are therefore potential refugees who, according to their testimonies, have crossed countries such as Libya, Niger and Algeria with the intention of requesting protection in Europe.
In his appearance, the head of the Interior has recognized that the Spanish agents immediately returned a hundred migrants who managed to set foot on Spanish soil after avoiding the border fence, justifying it with the ruling of the Grand Chamber of the Strasbourg Court that endorsed the case concrete of the return of two migrants. Although the Constitutional Court upheld the regulations that regulate the “rejection at the border”, it stressed that, in order to comply with the law, it is necessary for the returns to occur individually, an extreme that in practice is systematically breached in Ceuta and Melilla. Grande-Marlaska has also made no reference to the alleged returns of injured migrants, denounced by the survivors of the tragedy.