Eighteen African migrants are dead and 76 injured after a mass storming of the Spanish exclave of Melilla in North Africa.
A Spanish government spokesperson said about 2,000 migrants attempted to cross, and 133 managed to breach the border of the Spanish territory, according to Associated Press. Those who made it through proceeded to a local migrant center where Spanish authorities are evaluating their cases.
Surrounded by Morocco, Melilla is a five-square-mile territory on the eastern side of a rocky peninsula on the Mediterranean Sea. Both Melilla and Ceuta—a similarly-situated Spanish territory—have been subjected to periodic border-storming over the years.
The two autonomous Spanish territories present migrants with the only land borders between Africa and the European Union, making them appealing targets for those who would otherwise have to attempt a Mediterranean crossing.
“A large group of sub-Saharans [Africans]…broke through the access gate of the Barrio Chino border checkpoint and entered Melilla by jumping over the roof of the checkpoint,” local Spanish government authorities said in a statement. All of them were reportedly adult men; the stampede began at 6:40 am local time.
The rest of the horde was repelled by the efforts of Spanish Civil Guard police and Moroccan security forces working both sides of the border fence. According to Moroccan authorities, the casualties occurred when migrants attempted to scale the iron fence.
In what Al Jazeera characterized as a “violent, two-hour skirmish,” 49 members of the Spanish Civil Guard police were also injured. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said “human trafficking militias” had orchestrated “a well-organized, violent assault.”
A Moroccan human rights organization suggested to Reuters that the mass border-breaching attempt was prompted by Morocco’s “intense crackdown” on migrants and, specifically, an effort to clear migrant camps in a nearby forest on the day before.
In a March onslaught, Spanish police weren’t nearly as successful: close to 1,000 migrants breached the border in a stamped said to number more than 3,500.
Though it wasn’t the case in this instance, the Moroccan government has previously weaponized its land border with Spain. As Associated Press reports:
Morocco loosened its controls around Ceuta last year, allowing thousands of migrants to cross into Spain. The move was viewed as retaliation for Spain’s decision to allow the leader of Western Sahara’s pro-independence movement to be treated for COVID-19 at a Spanish hospital.
Strained by tensions over the status of Western Sahara, Spanish-Moroccan relations warmed in March when Spain endorsed Morocco’s plan to give more autonomy to the region. In 2020, the Trump administration recognized Morocco’s claim to sovereignty over Western Sahara as part of a quid pro quo for Morocco’s normalization of relations with Israel.
As U.S.-led economic warfare compounds the persistent worldwide effects of Covid-regime impoverishment, we can expect scenes like these to become increasingly common along other frontiers…
Though Zero Hedge isn’t able to verify them, footage purporting to show the migrant onslaught has circulated widely on social media:
????Today.From [RT].?More than 400 migrants from Morocco STORM border fence in Spain’s Melilla enclave – report
The migrants – armed with sticks – managed to break down a door at the border checkpoint and enter the Spanish territory based in North Africa, according to local media pic.twitter.com/zl3rBQhZuk
— Lara28 ?????????????????? (@Lara28742634061) June 24, 2022
— Mete Sohtao?lu (@metesohtaoglu) June 24, 2022
More than 2000 migrants tried to cross today from #Morocco into Spanish #Melilla. Witnesses confirmed violence used by security against #migrants, several wounded. 130 were able to pass. pic.twitter.com/n0FLdGA3wz
— Sharif Bibi (@sharifbibi) June 24, 2022
???????? more than 2.000 North African migrants try to break into Melilla today 24/6/2022. About 100 migrants managed to enter Spain.
Part 2 pic.twitter.com/26FJSvHSVo
— ????????????-????????-????-???????????????????????????????? ? (@AlphaCe53696046) June 24, 2022
Melilla (Spain): Hundreds of sub-Saharan migrants "perfectly organized and very violent" climb the border separating the city from Morocco and enter the European territory. pic.twitter.com/SoJJYBrw0A
— Helvetia ???????? (@bsdhvt) June 24, 2022