About 150 people were injured Thursday after migrants – some wielding electric saws, shears and mallets – stormed a border fence to enter Spain’s northern African enclave of Ceuta from Morocco, Spanish police and the Red Cross said.
Some 800 migrants from sub-Saharan Africa clashed with the Guardia Civil at 6:35 a.m. Some also employed aerosols as flame throwers, plastic containers filled with quicklime and excrement, and sticks and stones to keep officers at bay, police said.
In all, 602 migrants crossed into Ceuta; 586 were placed in a temporary migrant holding center, police said.
Of those injured, 132 were migrants, including 11 who were taken to a local hospital for treatment, the Red Cross tweeted. At least 16 officers were injured, with at least four taken to the hospital, the Red Cross and police said. The agencies reported slightly different tallies for hospitalized migrants and injured and hospitalized officers.
Ceuta, along with the province of Melilla to the east, are Europe’s only land borders in Africa. Both enclaves have long been popular transit points for sub-Saharan African migrants trying to cross the sea at the narrow point south of Spain.
Around 19,000 asylum-seekers arrived in Spain by sea in the first five months of 2018 – more than in both Greece and Italy – according to figures provided by the International Organization for Migration.
In addition, 3,125 migrants have tried to enter Spain on land during the same period, according to Spanish authorities.