The gates in the 20-foot (6-meter) high fence that separates Morocco from Spain’s Ceuta enclave was broken into by almost 500 migrants who forced their way into Spanish territory in North Africa early Friday
Spanish officials believe that it’s the biggest border invasion in recent years. Ceuta is separated from the rest of Spain by the Strait of Gibraltar.
Smashing through gates:
A Ceuta government official said that at about 6 a.m., around 700 migrants attempted to smash through several gates simultaneously.
He added that 498 migrants made it into Spanish territory, two of which sustained injuries during the assault and had to be hospitalized, 11 Spanish police were also hurt.
Police clashed with the migrants at the Tarajal area of the fence, and at least 10 members of Morocco’s armed forces were also injured, as per a Civil Guard spokesman who declined to disclose his identity in accordance with internal policy.
Director of Ceuta’s Red Cross emergency response team, Clemen Nunez, said that a migrant center treated more than 30 migrants for bone fractures and other injuries, others were cut trying to scale the barbed wire topped fence.
A surveillance camera showed hundreds of people approaching the fence, using tools and clubs to break one of the gates.
Some of the migrants had blood on their faces and bruises, but mostly were celebrating their arrival into Spanish land.
Some had Spanish and European flags wrapped around themselves while yelling “Freedom, freedom!”
In hopes of getting into Europe, Hundreds of sub-Saharan African migrants, have fled poverty and violence.
They are living illegally in Morocco and they often try to enter Ceuta and Melilla, Spain’s other North African enclave
According to the Civil Guard, 55 migrants were rejected on Friday. Those who are stopped on the spot can be sent back to Morocco, but those who pass the fences are taken to migrant centers and eventually deported or let go.
Many migrants choose to seek asylum or work illegally in Spain or other European countries.
The migrant center Ceuta was struggling, even before the latest arrival, they had more than 600 migrants and had to use military tents in nearby parking lots.