Hundreds of illegal immigrants from Africa stormed the Spanish exclave Ceuta once more and attacked police officers to reach the EU.
According to the Spanish daily El País, more than 700 black Africans managed to overcome the six-meter high fences separating the Spanish town of North Africa from Morocco on Thursday morning.
The Africans scaled the meter-high barbed wire fence armed with metal scissors and other technology, assaulting the Guardia Civil and Border Police with feces, Molotov cocktails and incendiary bombs, beating them with sticks, throwing stones. They continued their violent assault until they had reached Spanish territory.
Dozens were wounded and the police spoke of unprecedented violence.
They even used flamethrowers against the officers and attacked them with quicklime, causing severe skin burns. The immigrants were “as brutal as never before”, the news agency Europa Press quoted a police spokesman. Four Civil Guard officers were taken to hospital for treatment.
Hundreds more who also attempted to storm the border could be stopped by Spanish and Moroccan forces.
Last year, the Spanish government under the then Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy had strengthened the border security, but new Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has announced that he will remove the barbed wire on the border with the exclaves of Ceuta and Melilla.
Facing a leftist backlash after promises to take down the fence, the Spanish Interior Ministry was forced to defend its pushback policy on display on Thursday morning.
“The Civil Guard is enforcing existing legislation,” ministry sources explained after news broke that the migrants were immediately sent back to Morocco. Sanchez had recently said he would reconsider the practice of returning migrants on the spot, but the Interior Ministry has changed its tune suddenly saying that “there will be no legislative change outside European agreements on immigration”.
Speaking on the SER radio network on Thursday evening, Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska said that the migrants who were sent back to Morocco had not technically reached Spanish soil. He added that officers “have to comply with the law”.