A non-exhaustive summary of crossings from Morocco to Spain.
In February one could see that people are increasingly heading towards the Canary Islands, which is a highly dangerous route. Probably due to the closure of the borders in northern Morocco and the forced displacement of subsaharan migrants to the south of the country, people are taking more risks.
In the street of Gibraltar push-backs are getting more and more frequent since the coordination between Morocco and Spain is intensifying. Seeing the closure of borders at the Balkans and the agreements between the EU and Turkey for stopping migration, new routes will be chosen by migrants and their facilitators for finally reaching Europe. Lets be attentive and ready to host and support people on their way!
The 6th of February 2016, a transnational protest action took place in Morocco and Europe to commemorate migrants killed by the Spanish border-police Guardia Civil exactly two years ago in Tarajal at the beach of Ceuta.
About 400 people gathered under the slogan Stop the War Against Migrants in front of the Spanish embassy in Rabat to protest against the murderous border policy of the European Union. The “Comité de Suivi de Reseau pour la Mobilisation du 6 Fevrier 2016 Maroc”, consisting of various sub-Saharan and Moroccan Human Rights organizations, activists from Tangier and the Camps of Nador, as well as transnational collectives and individuals, organized the event.
Mostly sub-Saharan migrants, but Moroccans in solidary as well, made their way to the capital from Tangier, Tetouan, Nador, Oujda, Fez, Meknes, Casablanca, Tiznit and Layoune. The protest was joined by European activist too. Slogans like Freedom and Dignity for all Africans and Open the Borders were shouted angrily towards the Spanish embassy. Continue reading →
Even with the fierce repression of the moroccan forces at the borders, the raids in all the camps where migrants seek refuge, the push backs which are regularly been made by the spanish Guardia Civil, migrants continue their struggle for passing the borders. The risks they take are as high as the messures by the moroccan and european authorities to prevent them from entering. Unfortunately, as at every european border, the deaths and the partially severly injured have to be counted.
The sixth of February is getting closer! The second anniversary of the massacre of Ceuta, when the Guardia Civil shot at least 15 sub-saharan migrants on Tarajal beach. Last year, we organized a commemoration ceremony in Tangier, this year the mobilisation is getting a lot bigger:
Many Moroccan, sub-Saharan and transnational groups have united to claim justice! Mass mobilizations are taking place in Morocco and in Europe, on the 6th of February there will be sit-ins, demos, info-evens in Rabat, Ceuta, Barcelona, Berlin and Strasbourg.
You can read about the different activities and the demands on the transnational mobilization blog: http://6feb-ceuta.org/
“We are activists from collectives, associations, initiatives and various social movements. We fight for freedom of movement for all! We are from Cameroon, Syria, Mali, Eritrea, Senegal, Spain, Germany, Tunisia, Morocco, France and many more countries. We don´t accept any more deaths in the Mediterranean. We know it is possible to ‘live together’ and to consider a political system of equality and respect for human rights, because we have been building solidarity networks for years. The happenings on the 6th of February 2014, when the Spanish Guardia Civil killed at least 15 persons, who entered swimming to Ceuta, are not only spanish or morrocan issues, they are global issues. So, we united us in a common transnational struggle for the demilitarisation of the borders, the freedom of movement and global justice.”
LET US ALL JOIN THE 6TH FEB ACTIONS AND THE STRUGGLE FOR DIGNITY, JUSTICE AND FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT!
The night of the 25/12/2015 several hundred migrants tried to enter Ceuta by jumping the fence or by swimming. According to mainstream media, 200 tried to jump the fences while another 200 tried to enter by the sea.
Mainstream media said 185 managed to enter Ceuta, many of them got injured by the barbed wire. Twelve of them have been hospitalised and are in a very bad condition. It seems like the attempts to enter are met with extreme violence. Continue reading →
Due to the dramatic situation at the eastern external borders of the EU,the Moroccan-Spanish setting tends to be eclipsed. But West and Central African migrants in the north of Morocco still suffer oppression and racist violence on their way to Europe. Continue reading →
In November several migrant died by drowning, when climbing fences, during the police assault or by the Forces Auxiliaires. Migration pressure remains permanently present, despite the repression, the raids, deportations to deter migrant (s) of the northern border of Morocco. The migrant (s) are seeking new ways to reach Europe. These paths become increasingly dangerous, which cause more deaths. Fortunately some (s) still manage to reach their goals. Continue reading →
These two months were characterized by a migrant struggle and frequently crossings by boat or by an ongoing climbing of the fences of Ceuta and Melilla. The Moroccan government, in service of Europe, responds to those crossings with an intense repression in the forests and cities close to the borders and with the deportation of a number of migrants to the south of Morocco. We must also notice more and more illegal push-backs of “pateras” by Salvamento Maritimo and Frontex, and the transfer of these pateras to the Moroccan navy. The arrested migrants are deported to the cities in southern Morocco, as well. The closing of the borders and the repressions which comes along with it makes the migration routes more and more dangerous. And consequently there are “accident” fatalities according to the authorities during violent push-backs or due to a lack of rescue services!
After the raids, deportations and murders from the first week of October, the Moroccan authorities continue to instill terror in the migrant communities.
The majority of attacks has so far been concentrated on Cassiago (Ceuta) and Nador (Melilla) but Saturday a week ago (10th of October), the police started destroying the camps and personal belongings of the migrants living in Tangier.
Following the big raids and deportations in July, the migrant communities which used to live in the squatted houses in Tangier found themselves in the streets. Due to their resilience, those Tangier residents built themselves a life in the forests and fields around Boukhalef, see the situation here.
On Saturday, 10th of October), the police came to the “Cameroonian forest” at the entrance of Boukhalef (next to Aswak Assalam, the big supermarket), and to the little Senegalese forests next to the airport. They destroyed the camps, burnt the modest sleeping spaces, arrested and deported people, and made life for migrants even worse.
Here are some pictures and videos, taken and filmed by migrant activists, which show the scope of destruction.
(In French, with English subtitles)
What remains of the sleeping spaces and “bunkers”…
And personal belongings, spread around and ripped apart:
From now on, the residents of those camps are sleeping in the streets, dispersed, and without any means.
Since 3rd October 2015, the night when 200 migrants attempted to cross the fences in Ceuta and 87 succeeded to do so, several other attempts where made by hundreds of migrants. Afterwards, Morocco increased the military presence and border security measures at the fences.
On 9th October 2015, a Cameroonian and a Guinean migrant died during their attempt to cross the border. The two persons were on a boat which tried to enter Ceuta in the morning of 9th October. However, they were intercepted by the Moroccan Royal Marine, were severely beaten and subsequently died. A dozen of other persons present on the boat and therefore witnesses to these facts, were put in a van, locked in it for 12 hours and subsequently taken to the Fnideq police station. http://cadenaser.com/ser/2015/10/09/internacional/1444425919_850628.html
Simultaneously, the forests and camps around Ceuta were raided. Hundreds of migrants were arrested and taken to the South of Morocco in buses, the Moroccan forces used extreme violence during these arrests and caused many injuries. All the belongings in the forest camps were burnt or destroyed. Some groups of migrants were left in the desert, others taken to the outskirts of Southern cities. Continue reading →
The 3rd of october, 200 migrants tried to climb the fences in Ceuta. 87 of them managed to climb the fences and to reach Ceuta by swimming. 13 of them were wounded and transported to hospital. Here is a full article with photos (in Spanish)
On the Moroccan side, there were really lots of migrants who tried to cross who had to suffer from serious violence by the Moroccan police. There were many ambulances on the Moroccan side which went back and forth.
Many migrants continue to try to traverse the Mediterranean Sea or climb the fences in Ceuta and Melilla in their attempts to reach Europe. Several persons were wounded, died or disappeared during the months of July and August. Through collaboration between the Spanish surveillance and rescue service Salvamento Maritimo and the Moroccan Marine, numerous boats are detected by the Spanish services and taken by the Moroccan Marine, often it is not clear whether the boat was indeed still in Moroccan territorial waters or whether they were refouled to Moroccan waters from the Spanish side.
Here is a map of Spanish territorial waters: https://twitter.com/salvamentogob/status/620642581823815680?s=02
The Moroccan authorities continue their campaign of repression against migrant communitites in Northern Morocco, by destroying their infrastructure and deporting them in large numbers.
The “Fac” in Oujda (a city close to the Algerian border), an occupied part of the Mohamed I university, has served as a place of shelter for migrants for several years. Although the tent town was quite hierarchically controlled, e.g. by certain business structures, it was nevertheless an important part of the migrants’ infrastructure. People coming over the border from Algeria, people who had suffered injury and received treatment in the Oujda hospital, or people needing to take a break from the toil and terror of the forest camps – they could find some days of rest in the occupied Fac.
However, last Saturday around 3am in the morning, Moroccan security forces surrounded the camp, evicted and destroyed it, arresting around 200 people. Nearly half of them were set free after a short time, because they were minors or in possession of papers, the other half was rounded up and deported to cities in the centre and South of Morocco (e.g. Taza, Rabat), as a report by the AMDH details. Continue reading →
Since the evictions in early July, the housing situation in Boukhalef has been similar to Cassiago (Ceuta) or Nador (Melilla): most of the people live in the forests, without shelter.
Generally, not all Subsaharans are denied a room. But for the majoriy, it’s not an option because the landlords often ask for a at least 2 month financial guarantee – from people who have nothing, or even worse, they ask for a rent contract – from people who don’t have papers. Nevertheless, there are some houses in Doha and Miznana (2 neighbourhoods a bit before Boukhalef) which are currently overcrowded by Blacks.
Others live dispersed in several forests in the surroundings of Boukhalef. People spend their day on the streets of Boukhalef, looking for some little business (selling cigarettes, or coffee, or braiding hair) or they are begging.
Some forests are quite far away, so you have to walk at least 3km, and the living conditions are problematic. Continue reading →
In these past days, the situation at the European-Moroccan border is continuously getting worse.
At least five people have died last Sunday: Official figures state that 4 Subsaharan migrants drowned while attempting to swim to Ceuta (a local NGO cites 8 deaths, 4 confirmed and 4 disappeared and mentions a zodiac which was not rescued). The same day one Moroccan migrant choked to death in the trunk of his brother’s car, on the ferry to Almeria.
We are sad and enraged that fortress Europe has killed another five people, and harmed many more!
Every night, people are trying to cross, searching for a better life, and are met with cruel repression. The Moroccan authorities have intensified their control measures, not only to intercept migrants but also the summer drug business season. In the Strait of Gibraltar, the Moroccans now use at least two more motorized vessels at high speed which stop migrants and keep them at bay until the Navy arrives and pushes them back.They name it a “rescue operation”, for us it means “return operation”. Continue reading →
Since the evictions in the beginning of July of the flats squatted by migrants, the situation hasn’t improved. The former occupants of the houses are now spread out in the forests around Boukhalef, close to the airport of Tangier. They sleep outside on cardboard and have to travel many kilometers to come to the city. Only a minority has been able to rent a room in the Medina or in Miznana.
The police continue to haress Subsaharans and they prevent people from getting together in groups bigger than 5 people. There has been a reinforcement of the security at the coasts to prevent migrants from trying to cross.
The situation in Nador:
The 18th of July there was a raid in the forest of Bolingo. No one was arrested. At the moment the police only arrest people at the markets in Selouane and Nador when they try finding some food.
Despite this repression, dozen of migrants have managed to cross the Mediterranean in the last days, amongst them Syrians, Algerians and Subsaharans. But the majority of the boats were intercepted by the Moroccan Navy and the boatpeople were brought back to Tangier.
Neither the repression in Morocco, commissioned by Europe, nor the security apparatus at the border will prevent this migration. This apparatus will just make crossing more risky and will only feed into the walltes of the people organizing the crossings, whom the EU wants to make responsnible for the “accidents” and deaths in the Mediterranean.
Despite a “reinforced” wave of repression, many people try to get to Europe, leaving from Morocco hidden in cars, trying to climb the fences around Ceuta or Melilla, or by boat (in 2015, 71 boats with 1260 migrants have arrived in Andalucia)
These crossing attempts result sometimes in human dramas, severe injuries or “disappearances” which are often not reported by mainstream media or by the authorities. Thus it’s not uncommon that someone alerts us about the disappearing of a migrant while trying to cross. But any further inquieries often remain in vain!
The repression organised by Morocco in cooperation with Spain and financed by the EU extends to the borders by an increasing militarisation, by real raids in the forests where the migrants seek shelter, in the markets (Soukh) and in the cities where migrants live. Continue reading →
For several years already, migrants, mainly subsaharans, have found refuge in Boukhalef, a district in the periphery of Tangier. Some just live their lives, others have been regularized or are being hosted by their respective community while trying to cross to Europe.
Regularly, the authorities decide to evict migrants violently, which has provoked several tragedies.
On 1st of July 2015 more than 200 police officers and soldiers were deployed to the district Boukhalef in order to evacuate all the “blacks”. The security forces encircled the whole neighbourhood going from door to door to evict everyone who seems to be “subsaharan”. Under the pretext of moving out squatters (“The respect of private property is guaranteed by the law”) everyone was taken away. A majority of those “squatters” have actually been paying “rent” to a self-proclaimed landlord, often with a verbal contract only.
The authorities used emtpy and void arguments with aracist aim to “clean” Boukhalef of the migrants and in order to show Europe they keep playing the border guard.
This time again the violence caused one death and two people were seriously injured.
500 people were arrested and deported by bus to cities in southern Morocco. Others managed to flee and ended up in neighbouring forests or in the medina of Tangier, having lost all their possessions and looking for places to sleep and food to eat.
One word of Mr. Skakri of AMDH:
“The evacuation won’t solve the problems because the majority of the immigrants who left the neighbourhood will wait until the authorities finish the operation and will then return due to lack of housing.”
See here for the statement of GADEM about the current situation: “Tangier – Boukhalef district: Discriminatory evacuation of the non-Moroccan Blacks” (in French)