Thousands Protest in Madrid following Migrant Deaths at Morocco-Spain Border
- July, 02, 2022 - 12:55
- World news
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Thousands of people in several Spanish cities protested Friday over the deaths of 37 migrants who had attempted to cross the border fence into the Spanish city of Melilla from Morocco.
The demonstrations were being held under the moniker “Las Vidas Negras Importan” in Spanish or “Black Lives Matter” in English.
The deaths occurred June 24 during repeated attempts by sub-Saharan migrants and asylum seekers to scale the border fence separating the territories. Moroccan authorities said the migrants died as a result of a stampede but protesters are blaming officials and Europe's migration policies, ABC News reported.
In Madrid, demonstrators filled Callao square and held signs that read “Borders Kill” and “No human being is illegal.” In Barcelona, participants marched as they chanted against racism and colonialism.
“In order to protect their borders they killed a lot of Black people,” said Victoria Muñoz, a protester of African descent.
Around 2000 people attempted to make the crossing last Friday, which Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez, described as a 'violent assault' on the fence. Moroccan authorities say the deaths were due to a 'stampede.'
Videos and photos that emerged in the days following the deaths sparked outrage and condemnation by several human rights groups and officials, including the United Nations secretary-general.
In one video shared by the Moroccan Human Rights Association dozens of young African men, some of them motionless and bleeding, are seen strewn on the ground as Moroccan security forces stand over them. One uniformed man is seen poking a body with his baton.
In another video a group of migrants is seen climbing a fence, some hurling rocks at Moroccan anti-riot police trying to stop them. At one point, the fence collapses, sending them to the ground from a height of several meters.
Morocco’s Human Rights Association contested the official death toll, reporting instead that 27 migrants had died, while the Spanish NGO Walking Borders is reporting 37 fatalities.
Authorities in Morocco and Spain also reported that 140 security officers on the Moroccan side and 60 National Police and Civil Guard officers on the Spanish side, were injured.