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Spain's interior minister: Spanish police made a " reasonable " use of force

AFP   -  
Copyright © africanews
PAU BARRENA/AFP or licensors


Spain's interior minister said on Wednesday that Spanish police had made a " reasonable " use of force during the attempt of almost 2,000 migrants to enter the Spanish enclave of Melilla, which left at least 23 dead in late June.

For months now, several parliamentary groups have been calling on the minister to clarify this issue, and this was the first time he had spoken to the deputies on this subject.

Fernando Grande-Marlaska stressed that the Guardia Civil, with the support of the national police, helped to blocked the entry into Spanish territory and contain the violent attitude of the assailants

The Moroccan Human Rights Association (AMDH), the main independent human rights group in Morocco, had in July condemned the "massive use of tear gas" by Moroccan and Spanish police as the migrants, mostly Sudanese, tried to enter a cramped and closed border post or climb a metal fence topped with barbed wire.

The Melilla tragedy triggered international outrage, with both the UN and the African Union (AU) denouncing "excessive use of force".

Videos that went viral on social networks showed migrants lying on the ground being beaten by Moroccan agents.

According to the Moroccan authorities, 23 migrants died as a result of jostling and falls during this mass entry attempt. According to the AMDH, 27 people lost their lives.

The death toll is the highest ever recorded in the numerous attempts by migrants to enter Melilla and the neighbouring Spanish enclave of Ceuta, the European Union's only land borders with the African continent.

The migrants, mostly of Sudanese origin, were arrested during violent clashes with Moroccan police in a forest near Nador on the eve of the 24 June tragedy.

Their trial, scheduled for Wednesday in Nador, was adjourned to 28 September for procedural reasons.

According to the AMDH, two European lawyers, who came to attend the trial of the 15 migrants prosecuted before the Court of Appeal of Nador, were banned from entering Morocco through the border post of Melilla.

Several dozen illegal immigrants have already been sentenced to prison terms by Moroccan courts following the tragic events in Melilla.

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