Gibraltar Chronicle Logo
UK/Spain News

Hundreds of migrants storm border fences in Ceuta

Migrants sit on the ground next to Spanish police officers after storming a fence to enter the Spanish enclave of Ceuta, Spain, Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. An emergency team in Ceuta is assisting more than 300 migrants who crossed the fence surrounding Spain's enclave in North Africa early Friday, a spokesman for the local Red Cross said. (AP Photo/Jesus Moron)

Hundreds of migrants have stormed border fences separating Spain's North African enclave of Ceuta from Morocco in a bid to get into Europe.

Spanish police said 602 migrants made it on to Spanish soil in a massive assault on high, barbed-wire fences shortly after dawn.

Migrants cut holes in the fences and threw faeces and quick lime, a skin irritant, at police officers trying to hold them back, the Guardia Civil said.

They also threw stones at police vehicles, breaking windows, and hurled makeshift flamethrowers at officers.

Police said 16 migrants were taken to hospital while five of 15 police who were injured needed hospital treatment.

The Spanish Red Cross said that 132 migrants were hurt in the mass charge.

Sub-Saharan Africans living illegally in Morocco try to get to Europe each year by climbing rows of 20ft high fences surrounding Ceuta and Melilla, Spain's other North African enclave.

Those who make it across head for crowded, temporary migrant accommodation centres. They are eventually repatriated or let go.

Thursday's assault added to pressure on Spanish authorities from a recent wave of migration, mostly migrants crossing the Mediterranean on unsafe boats.

The International Organisation for Migration says so far this year more than 22,700 migrants have arrived in Spain - three times more than in the same period last year.

Almost 20,000 of them arrived by sea, as good weather allowed more crossings on the short route across the Strait of Gibraltar and a recent crackdown by Libyan authorities had led migrants to choose other routes.

NB. Photo is from a previous event where migrants stormed the fence in Ceuta last year.

Most Read

Download The App On The iOS Store