Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska arrived in Cueta this afternoon amid a growing migrant crisis in the Spanish enclave.
In the past 24-hours a record number of migrants entered the Spanish territory from Morocco. Officials put the number at 6,000 but residents say it is closer to 10,000 and many have locked themselves in their homes, according to news reports.
Spain has already sent back some 2,700 migrants. But at least 1,500 are minors and the Spanish authorities will not send them back. Most migrants are young men, but some families also arrived. One person died during the crossing.
Spanish troops, riot police and armoured vehicles have been deployed to help border police at Ceuta’s at the Tarajal beach. Earlier on May 18 they were pelted with stones.
Moroccan security forces at Fnideq, a town near the border fence, fired tear gas to disperse a large crowd of migrants.
Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said Spain will use “maximum firmness” to restore normality. Interior Minister Grande-Marlaska also warned far-right Spanish political parties such as Vox not to use the incident to stir up hatred.
Speaking with Prime Minister Sanchez by phone on May 18, the European’s Foreign Policy chief, Josep Borrell, guaranteed the bloc’s support for Spain and recognised that Cueta is “the border of the EU.”
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