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Hundreds of Africans cross into Spain’s Melilla for second day

MADRID (AP) – Hundreds of people tried for a second day to climb over the fences that separate a Spanish city in North Africa from Morocco, authorities said on Thursday.
The Spanish government’s delegation in Melilla said 1,200 migrants attempted to scale the six-metre barrier that perimeters the city and that 380 succeeded.

On Wednesday, an unprecedented 2,500 people tried to enter the city, resulting in 491 crossings, according to local authorities.

Spanish security forces activated an “anti-intrusion” mechanism early on Thursday to confront what the government’s delegation described as “extreme violence” by trespassers who “threw stones, used hooks and sticks” at border agents.

Four Civil Guard officers were treated for injuries at a hospital, central government’s delegate in the city Sabrina Moh told reporters.

People fleeing poverty or violence sometimes use mass border incursion attempts to reach Melilla and the other Spanish territory on the North Africa coast, Ceuta, as a springboard to
continental Europe.

Sabrina said the ones who succeeded this week were transferred to the local migrant centre, and authorities were evaluating their circumstances.

Melilla’s border security with Morocco will be reinforced with 84 National Police and Civil Guard officers, Sabrina said.

Non-profits working with migrants in Melilla, including Solidary Wheels, said activists saw how Spanish authorities sent back to Morocco three migrants sitting at the top of the fence on Wednesday.

Mass border pushbacks are illegal under international refugee treaties because they deny people the opportunity to apply for asylum, although European courts have justified them in some instances.

Authorities didn’t immediately address the allegation.

Migrants arrive on Spanish soil after crossing the fences separating the Spanish enclave of Melilla from Morocco, in Melilla, Spain. PHOTO: AP

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