The 6th of February has become a common reference when talking about police brutality at the European border. On this day the Spanish Guardia Civil shocked many people by showing what means they are ready to put into practice in order to stop migration, this day leading to the death of at least 17 people. A group of Camerounese migrants, who were in the water that, have told us what they experienced that day. The following is a summary of their stories.
Early in the morning of the 6th of February a group of 400 migrants (mostly Camerounese) went down to the beach in Fnideq close to the border to Spain, and started swimming towards Ceuta. While doing so they were being attacked by Moroccan military police, but also Spanish police started to shoot with rubber bullets at the migrants while they were still at the Moroccan side, as well as at the people who made it to the Spanish side. They were shooting both directly at people and at the floating implements that some people needed because they were not able to swim. This caused several people to drown. Apart from that, there were Guardia Civil officers in a boat with a Spanish flag who were pumping tear-gas into the water as well as sailing over people.
There was a mass panic attack in the water when some migrants tried to continue making their way to Spain, while others tried to escape the bullets and tear gas by returning to the Moroccan side.
Officially 17 people are announced to be dead, but according to these Cameroonian people, more than 25 people died, and others are still missing.
Around 200 people made it to the beach in Ceuta, but were immediately pushed back by the Guardia Civil through a small gate in the fence surrounding the Spanish enclave, without being asked any questions or being registered as having been in Spain. At the Moroccan side all the migrants were brought to the police station in Tetouan, and from there deported to different places in Morocco from where they had to sort out themselves.
Thursday, the 28th of February, there was an assault made on the fence surrounding Melilla by around 300 migrants. More than 200 of them made it to the Spanish side, leaving 35 injured, according to mainstream media.
Saturday, the 1st of March, a smaller group of migrants attempted to swim to Ceuta next to the village Benzú. Around 20-30 people were caught on the Moroccan side, forced to give their names and afterwards escorted away one by one. Most of the people had problems walking after being injured during the attempt to cross. 4 people made it to Ceuta, and once on the beach they were given emergency blankets, and afterwards taken away in cars.
This just shows that, even though Europe are spending tons of money to “secure” the border, paying Spanish cops and paying corrupt Moroccan police who employs local bandits, people in bigger or smaller numbers manage to cross the border all the time.