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Boat incident sparks Convent Place protest

Angry boat owners blockaded the road outside Convent Place yesterday, bringing traffic to a standstill as they demanded better protection by police out at sea.

The demonstration follows the arrest of three Gibraltarian sports fishermen by the Guardia Civil just outside British Gibraltar territorial waters on Tuesday. Two of the men were subsequently released but the third man is still in police custody in Ceuta.

The incident in which the man was arrested unfolded about four miles off the east side of the Rock, in an area of sea regarded as international waters by the UK but territorial waters by Spain.

Several local boats had been fishing in the area when they were approached by a Ceuta-based Guardia Civil patrol boat.

Both the Royal Gibraltar Police and the Royal Navy responded to radio calls from the local sports fishermen, but they could not intervene because British jurisdiction stretches only to the three-mile limit of Gibraltar’s territorial waters.

Video footage posted on social media shows the Guardia Civil vessel chasing one of the local boats at speed.

The man detained in Ceuta is accused of dangerous navigation and failing to stop, the Chronicle understands.

Congregating outside Convent Place yesterday afternoon, the protestors were deafening as they clapped, chanted and blew whistles. Some held up maps outside the Convent building indicating the three nautical miles that the UK claims.

The crowd demanded better protection from the police at sea and the release of the third Gibraltarian fisherman. At one point they sat in the road and chanted “We won’t budge” and “We want justice”.


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