Hundreds of illegal migrants being held at the Arguineguín port on Gran Canaria were removed by police on Tuesday after a judge on the Spanish mainland ruled that the conditions they were living in were “inhumane.”
Left without food or water or toilets, groups of migrants then wandered around the small fishing village behind the port. After several hours, buses took them to a reception centre in the capital city, Las Palmas.
“We denounce this continued contempt for migrants and this island by the Ministry of the Interior,” the island’s president Antonio Morales wrote on Twitter. “We demand the resignation of those responsible.”
“Migrants cannot be put on the street without any type of accommodation or food,” a statement from the Unified Police Trade Union said, according to the BBC.
What will happen to the migrants after they have been processed remains unclear. Most of them are young men, some from Morocco and the rest from other parts of Africa who crossed the 100 kilometres from the continent in traditional fishing boats.
So far this year 16,700 illegal migrants have landed on the Spanish islands – a ten-fold increase on last year – and there appears to be no policy in place on how to deal with them, either to process them for onward travel to the mainland or to return them to Morocco.
The authorities have responded to the influx by providing temporary accommodation.
Spanish military set up a camp in the island of Gran Canaria in order to transfer migrants stranded at the Arguineguin port, in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain November 12, 2020. The camp has a maximum capacity of 200. REUTERS/Borja Suarez