For the second day in a row, although with an exponentially higher death toll in between – the number of deaths rose from 5 to 37 in just twenty-four hours, according to some sources – Sánchez has spoken again this Saturday about the migratory assault on the fence from Melilla.
If on Friday, in an appearance in Brussels after the European Council, he had mentioned the "extraordinary collaboration of Morocco", this time he has expressly avoided such a forceful mention, but praised Rabat again. "I also want to remember that the Moroccan Gendarmerie worked in coordination with the State Security Forces and Bodies to repel this assault," he told media questions at his press conference after the extraordinary Council of Ministers held this Saturday.
The President of the Government speaks of "an attack on the territorial integrity of our country" and states that "if there is one person responsible for everything that seems to have happened on that border, it is the mafias that traffic in human beings." The head of the Executive has once again shown his solidarity with the members of the Police and the Civil Guard who have intervened in the autonomous city, valuing the "extraordinary work they have done." According to data from the Government Delegation in Melilla, up to 49 Civil Guard agents were injured "as a result of this violent and organized assault" that has been seen, Sánchez stressed.
Some explanations from the president that have not convinced even Podemos, who has returned to confront his government partner on account of this matter. The purple formation has reacted by demanding an "immediate and independent" investigation by the European Union (EU) into what has happened since Friday at the Melilla fence.
The party led by the also Minister of Social Rights, Ione Belarra, points directly to the Government of which she is a part by assuring that this crisis is caused by Sánchez's agreements on migration with Morocco, a country that "systematically violates human rights" , according to We Can.
The purple ones take advantage of the occasion to undisguisedly criticize again the recent agreement between Pedro Sánchez and Morocco to restore relations between the two countries since they deteriorated due to episodes such as the controversial stay in Spain of the leader of the Polisario Front, Brahim Gali – whom Morocco considers one of its main enemies–, or the massive assault on the Ceuta fence in May 2021, consented to by the Moroccan authorities.
A key element of the new relations between Madrid and Rabat was Pedro Sánchez's decision to change –suddenly and unexpectedly– the historical position of Spain regarding the Sahara conflict to align with Morocco's theses, another of the issues in which that PSOE and United We Can diametrically disagree.
That is why the party headed by ministers Belarra and Irene Montero takes advantage of what happened in Melilla this weekend to once again reject that agreement with Rabat, accusing the PSOE and Sánchez of "going over international law by selling, among others, the rights of the Saharawi people. Podemos finishes off his criticism by assuring that "the use of human rights and people cannot be allowed either as bargaining chips or as a measure of pressure and coercion", in a clear allusion to the new position of the Spanish Government.
Along the same lines as Podemos, several NGOs have demonstrated, increasing the death toll during this attempted assault on the Melilla fence. In the first balance of the same Friday, the Moroccan authorities reported five deceased immigrants of sub-Saharan origin. That night they raised the figure to 18, which is what the Rabat government continues to maintain.
However, the deceased immigrants could already be 37, according to what the Moroccan Association for Human Rights (AMDH), ATTAC Morocco, the Association for Helping Migrants in a Vulnerable Situation, Walking Without Borders and the Collective of Sub-Saharan Communities in Morocco affirm jointly. .
And they could be even more, since to the 37 deceased mentioned there would be added two gendarmes of the Moroccan Police who, according to these NGOs critical of that country, would have lost their lives trying to contain the offensive of the 2,000 sub-Saharan Africans who on Friday launched themselves towards the Melilla fence from the Moroccan side. However, Rabat denies that these two gendarmes have died and maintains the official number of deceased immigrants in half and about 80 injured.
In any case, the death toll may vary in the coming hours and days, as these non-governmental organizations insist that the number of victims "will increase", especially due to "the lack of prompt attention to injured immigrants" during the assault on the fence and the clashes with the Moroccan Police. That is why these groups demand that the Moroccan authorities identify and return the bodies to the families of the deceased sub-Saharans.
In addition, one of the signatory groups of that joint statement, AMDH, has released a video in which numerous immigrants appear guarded by the Moroccan Police while they remain crowded on the ground. Many of them with obvious signs of pain and others immobile, which has caused different reactions against Morocco.
The aforementioned NGOs also raise other demands in their joint statement, not only to Morocco, but also to Spain. They urge both countries to "immediately open an independent judicial investigation to clarify this human tragedy." And they ask that the same be done “at the international level”, in line with what Podemos demands from the EU.
These five groups coincide with the purple ones by framing everything that happened in what they call "a failure of immigration policies." And they condemn that recent agreement between the Government chaired by Pedro Sánchez and Morocco, after which these organizations denounce that the actions of the two countries against immigrants who try to access Europe through Morocco and Spain have "multiplied".
The Episcopal Conference of our country has also ruled on this migratory crisis through a statement entitled 'No more deaths at the borders', in which the Spanish Church hopes "that the competent authorities contribute to clarifying the facts and to take the appropriate measures so that it does not happen again.
The bishops highlight the “seriousness” of these incidents and point out that it is not the first time they have occurred, but that “they come to join others in the past both in Ceuta and Melilla”, with whose inhabitants they sympathize for the “concern” that these events generated in the two autonomous cities.
Finally, the Episcopal Conference recalls that immigrants "are not 'invaders', they are only human beings who seek to reach Europe fleeing" from wars, famines, droughts and other dramas that devastate their countries of origin in Africa. A message with which the Spanish bishops urge to "avoid a partisan and demagogic use of the complex challenge of migration."