400 migrants storm walled Spanish city bordering Morocco and battle with police to gain entry to Europe
- Around 400 migrants in Morocco stormed the fence on the Spanish border
- It is the largest group to have forced its way into Ceuta for at least a decade
- The men, from various African countries, are expected to seek asylum
By Afp and Chris Summers For Mailonline
Published: 14:18, 9 December 2016
Around 400 African migrants forced their way into the tiny Spanish enclave of Ceuta today, the biggest group in a decade to storm the walled city bordering Morocco in search of asylum.
The group – mainly men – forced their way through two entry points in the 20-feet barrier that surrounds the Spanish enclave.
Footage posted online by the El Faro de Ceuta newspaper showed dozens of migrants, including men without shoes and shirts, shouting ‘Spain’ in delight as they crossed into Ceuta.
A Spanish government spokesman said: ‘You have to go back to the early 2000s to see numbers like this.’
The Red Cross said it had treated 103 people for minor injuries (pictured) while 25 had been taken to hospital.
Spanish junior minister for security, Jose Antonio Nieto, will visit Ceuta today to investigate the incident.
Some 10,800 migrants have arrived in Spain in 2016, according to the International Organization for Migration.
Ceuta, along with Melilla, another Spanish territory in North Africa, have the European Union’s only land borders with Africa.
They are favoured entry points for African migrants seeking a better life in Europe, who get there by either climbing over the border fence or by swimming along the coast.
Some of the 400 African migrants react joyfully after crossing the border fence between Morocco and Spain’s north African enclave of Ceuta earlier today.
The objective for migrants entering Ceuta illegally is to reach a temporary Spanish residency rights centre where they can, in principle, request asylum.
In 2014 a group of 15 migrants drowned as they tried to swim to Ceuta from a beach in neighbouring Morocco.
At the time, rights groups and migrants said Spanish police tried to keep them from reaching the shore by firing rubber bullets and spraying them with tear gas.
In October a group of about 220 people managed to storm two entry points into Ceuta, injuring 35 migrants and three security officers.
Migrants stand together after storming a fence to enter the Spanish enclave of Ceuta today
An African migrant reacts upon arriving at CETI, the short-stay immigrant centre, after crossing the border fence between Morocco and Spain’s north African enclave of Ceuta today