Moroccan protesters blockade Spanish enclave
Friday 13 August 2010
Moroccan demonstrators blockaded the border with the Spanish enclave of Melilla for hours yesterday.
The protest came just a day after the kings of the two countries spoke by telephone to try to calm tempers in a conflict which has been simmering for three weeks.
A police official said protesters prevented all trucks from entering Melilla, interrupting shipments to the centuries-old Spanish city at the tip of North Africa between the Mediterranean and northern Morocco. But 11 trucks carrying fruit and vegetables were allowed over the border in the afternoon, according to Gabriel Escobar, the Interior Ministry's top official in the city.
Mounaim Chaouki, a protest leader, said the blockade will be lifted for the Muslim holy day today and over the weekend but would be ramped up again on Monday to prevent trucks with construction material from crossing, according to El Mundo newspaper.
He said protesters will prevent Moroccan women who work as maids in Melilla from crossing over, the newspaper reported.
Morocco supplies the Spanish enclave with perishable products, and about 35,000 Moroccans cross daily into Melilla to work or shop.
Morocco claims the city and another North African enclave of Spain, Ceuta, as its own — but Spain rejects any talk of giving up the cities. Many Moroccans enter the enclaves by day to work, then go home at night.
The demonstrators manning the blockade yesterday were also pressing Morocco's claim to the cities.
Morocco has made five complaints over the last three weeks alleging Spanish police mistreatment of and racism against Moroccans crossing into Melilla. Moroccan officials also accused the Spanish coast guard of finding, then abandoning, a group of ailing migrants in a boat off the Moroccan coast. Spain has denied the claims.
The Spanish foreign ministry declined comment on the blockade, which started a day after King Juan Carlos of Spain called his Moroccan counterpart Mohammed VI to try to ease tensions.
Spain and Morocco are key allies, cooperating closely on fighting Islamist terrorism and preventing illegal immigration. Relations between the two countries are generally good, despite periodic bouts of tension. The most serious break came in 2002, when the nations edged close to confrontation after a handful of Moroccan soldiers occupied a Spanish island off the Moroccan coast inhabited by goats.
- 1 The difference between a migrant and refugee, in one sentence
- 2 Miley Cyrus calls out hypocrisy of women’s nipples being taboo
- 3 Celebrity Big Brother 2015: Tila Tequila kicked off show after 'describing Hitler as a good man'
- 4 iPhone 5c to be discontinued, no iPhone 6c to replace it
- 5 Blood Moon and Supermoon: September to bring brightest – and dimmest – full Moon of the year on same night
The difference between a migrant and refugee, in one sentence
Spain accused of 'provocation' after letting Russian submarine refuel off Gibraltar
Allonautilus scrobiculatus: World's 'rarest' creature spotted for only the third time ever
Miley Cyrus calls out hypocrisy of women’s nipples being taboo
Celebrity Big Brother 2015: Tila Tequila kicked off show after 'describing Hitler as a good man'
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn accused of 'deluding' young supporters with 'claptrap'
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
Iain Duncan Smith calls for urgent ESA overhaul as part of drive to cut down welfare costs
£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...
£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...
£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...