MADRID (Reuters) – About 350 migrants managed on Thursday to cross a high border fence separating the Spanish North African enclave of Melilla from Morocco after a wave of migrants tried to climb for a second consecutive day, authorities said.
They were just a fraction of the 1,200 migrants who tried to scale the six-metre (20-foot) fence, whom the central government in Melilla described as “extremely violent” in a statement.
They wielded hooks and sticks and pelted guards with stones, causing minor injuries to four police officers, it added.
More than 2,500 migrants had attempted the fence on Wednesday in Melilla’s largest such bid on record, government spokesperson Isabel Rodriguez said, but only 500 made it across.
Melilla and Ceuta – a second Spanish enclave also on Africa’s northern coast – are popular crossing points for illegal African migrants trying to get into Europe.
Official data showed migratory flows to both cities by land were down 65% in the first two months of the year, while overall numbers intercepted crossing into Spain rose 73% to 7,319 by the end of February.
In mid-2021, as many as 8,000 people swam into Ceuta or clambered over the fence, as Moroccan authorities appeared to loosen controls for a couple of days following a diplomatic spat between both countries.
(Reporting by Emma Pinedo; Editing by Inti Landauro and Clarence Fernandez)