On Monday, 600 illegal migrants from Tunisia housed at the Temporary Stay Center for Immigrants (CETI) in Melilla, a Spanish enclave in northern Morocco, started a hunger strike to demand they be transferred to the Spain’s mainland.
The protest began with a sit-in inside the courtyard of the facility under the Ministry of Labor’s Secretary of State for Migration with a banner that read ‘We have CETI rights’, the illegals blocked vehicles and refused to allow them to pass through the area. One of the Tunisian illegals has even sewn his lips to avoid eating food or drinks.
The migrants are threatening to remain on a hunger strike until their demands for transfer to the Peninsula are accepted, “we have been in Melilla for more than a year” while other illegals who have been here for a shorter amount of time get to stay complained the migrants.
The Melilla temporary stay center currently accommodates over 1,600 people. Several NGOs, including Amnesty International, denounced the free living conditions believing that “the common spaces” containing too many people “are a dangerous target where the risks of contracting [the Covid-19] multiply.”
Left-wing NGO’s are demanding the Spanish government decongest the centers by speeding up migrant transfers to Spain’s mainland not back to their country of origin where they are legal citizens.
Despite the protests and left-wing organizations demands, Spain’s Interior Minister, Fernando Grande Marlaska, announced that Instead of performing transfers to the peninsula due to overcrowding in CETI, his office is working to repatriate the illegal Tunisian’s who have been in Melilla for months. A decision that has infuriated the left-wing who wants the potentially dangerous illegals to remain in Spain.
Each year thousands of dangerous migrants, most of them from sub-Saharan countries, try to scale Melilla’s border fence to make it into Spain in the hopes they won’t be returned and will get asylum. As RAIR reported a few weeks ago, hundreds of dangerous military-aged migrants stormed Spain’s border fence in Melilla and attacked civil guards, armed forces members and police officers with weapons.
Transcript: thanks to Fousesquawk for the translation:
A little more than 600 Tunisian citizens are located there, with their expulsion proceeding already concluded and put into effect.
We are working and coordinating with the Tunisian embassy in Madrid, also with the Tunisian government, with the aim of proceeding in the shortest time possible with the repatriation of these citizens.
As Interior Minister [Fernando Grande-] Marlaska said, work is already underway on the return of hundreds of Tunisians who for months have lived in Melilla. Since this morning many of them have demonstrated in the city center asking to move from the city to the peninsula.
They insist they are frustrated and have reached their limit, which is why they declare that they have started a hunger strike until a solution is found for them. At this time they continue to sit in one of the principal streets in the city center as a sign of protest.