In the early hours of Tuesday morning, around 1500 people tried to storm the Ceuta border fence. They were heavily beaten by Spanish Guardia Civil forces who were operating on Moroccan soil. There are rumours of three people dead or at least heavily injured. The following is from an eye witness account.
Tuesday, 4th March 2014
In the small hours of Tuesday morning, well over a thousand migrants wait in the forest looking down on the fences of Ceuta. People arriving from all over Morocco, coming here to strike. Everyone’s organising and preparing themselves for the attack. Speeches are made, making sure everyone knows not to take weapons like knives, sticks and rocks but most of all, to go without anger. All people are focusing on having a better life and not violence. To surrender when defeated but prepare for the control and beatings by the police, having stones thrown at them and hit by their metal batons. Because one thing is certain and that is that the police will try to hit them and they will try to hurt them.
It was clear from the beginning that the police already had information and were prepared for the attack. Guards were there on stand by three days before the attempted strike. Boats and a sea plane were already in the water, lines of riot vans and bus loads more security than usual were stationed on land. Everybody were ready to strike as one, but with the large body of people, it was difficult to put into effect. People split into groups and formed into waves for the attack.
The first wave made it to the doors of a sea drainage tunnel close to the fence. Moroccan guards were blocking the tunnel with a line of police at the entrance, police cars parked in front of them. More guards stood on the top, throwing rocks at the migrants. There were also hundreds of Spanish Guardia Civil on the Moroccan side, prepared to join the Moroccan forces. The wave continued regardless and attempted to pass the blockade and over onto the beach, towards the fence. Everyone swarmed the police but also themselves, causing people to fall and be trampled by others. The Spanish Guardia Civil as well as the Moroccan forces took the opportunity to start beating people. People fought back with words, shouting things like “why do you kill our brothers and sisters?” and “you are killers!”, referring to the 6th February, when at least 15 people were killed in the water from attacks by Guardia Civil armed with rubber bullets and tear gas. The police just beat them harder. They beat people again and again, on their legs, arms and head.
Unbelievably and of course, illegally, Spanish Guardia Civil forces were operating on Moroccan soil. They were wearing black masks to hide their identity while they hit people violently with their batons and smothering them with tear gas. Everybody had no choice but to surrender. They tied peoples hands together, beating people more as they were doing so. They took large groups to Tetouan police station, keeping them in the car park because there were so many. They gave no food to the people and instead continued to beat them.
The second and third wave came behind while other people were being controlled. The same thing happened to the rest of the people, they were taken to the police station. Everyone was split into groups coinciding the towns they had come from. And eventually, people were taken to buses and driven away.
The general news in Europe, say that the incident caused no injuries to anyone. This is not true, Moroccan forces were seen beating people with iron bars over the head. It is rumoured that three people were killed in the attack, some unconscious people were seen to be carried away but it is unconfirmed as to their condition.