On 5 February 2014, 200 migrants tried to reach the coast of Ceuta (Spanish city on north coast of Africa) swimming from its border with Morocco. Members of the Spanish Civil Guard were at the beach (Playa El Tarajal), and they opened fire with large rubber bullets, tear gas and blanks. 14 people drowned. Amnesty International published a post yesterday to remind the “tragedy” (may I say homicide?) Spain: Ceuta migrant tragedy – deplorable disregard for human life
When the event was known, Spanish authorities provided explanations. A lot of different explanations, because they had to change the official version each time that witnesses and images were refuting their previous version. Here they are, summarizing from this article in eldiario.es:
- Version 1: Spanish Civil Guard didn’t had nothing to do, didn’t take part in the event. Moroccan police stopped the advance of some migrants. Spanish authorities knew the incident through contacts with Morocco.
- Version 2: Ok, Spanish Civil Guard were there, at the coast, watching, but they did nothing.
- Version 3: Maybe some blanks have been used, but not rubber bullets nor tear gas, that is not true. There aren’t images, because there were not security cameras in that place.
- Version 4: Oh yes, there are security cameras, but nobody have watched the recording (24 hours later).
- Version 5: Well, yes, the guards were at the beach defending the border and they used anti-riot equipment including tear gas and rubber bullets, but they avoided hitting the people, only used it “to mark the border” on the water.
Compare version 5 with version 1. Which credibility have someone capable of giving these contradictory versions about the same subject, in less than 48 hours?
The reality is: 200 people tried to reach Spanish coast and some of them arrived near; they were swimming in difficult conditions, exhausted, and the guards, instead of helping them, fired tear gas and rubber bullets against them, and also blanks to scare them even more. One of the survivors, for example, had bruises by the bullets on a leg and an eye (he partially lost vision in this eye). It was not the accidental death of 14 migrants, it was a homicide.
One year later, Spanish government continues denying any responsibility, claims that the Civil Guard acted correctly and even congratulated them. Nobody has been charged.