More than 200 migrants climb fence in enclave of Melilla in Spain | Migration News

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The crossings come months after other Spanish enclave of Ceuta witnessed an influx of arrivals amid a dispute between Madrid and Rabat.

More than 200 migrants and refugees have entered Spain’s North African enclave of Melilla, according to local authorities, after climbing the high fence separating it from Morocco.

In all, more than 300 migrants attempted to climb the six-meter barrier early on Thursday morning, authorities said in a statement.

The 238 who reached the area were all men.

Three police officers suffered minor injuries as they tried to avoid crossing the road, the statement said.

Those who entered Melilla were later taken to a processing center where they must self-isolate to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19.

Migrants and refugees are usually held in such facilities until the authorities can find out whether they can be returned to their country or are eligible to stay in Spain.

Popular Crosswalks

Melilla and Ceuta – a second Spanish enclave also on the African Mediterranean coast – are popular crossing points for migrants and refugees seeking a better life in Europe.

The areas have the European Union’s only land borders with Africa.

Both are protected by barbed wire fences, video cameras and watchtowers.

Since mid-May, more than 500 migrants and refugees have overcome the Moroccan border fence to reach Melilla.

Meanwhile, more than 8,000 people swam into Ceuta or scrambled over the border fence in May after Moroccan authorities appeared to relax controls for a few days, prompting Spain to deploy troops and additional police.

The crisis came amid a major diplomatic dispute between Spain and Morocco over Madrid’s decision to provide medical aid to a rebel leader from Western Sahara, a disputed territory annexed by Rabat in the 1970s.

Although Polisario Front leader Brahim Ghalic left Spain on June 2, diplomatic relations have remained tense.

Official data on migratory flows to Ceuta and Melilla continued to be updated after the surge in crossings in May, while the total number of intercepted crossings to Spain rose by 57.5 percent to 13,483 people at the end of June.

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