More than 1,800 Moroccans gathered at the border crossing to the Spanish enclave at Ceuta on Tuesday, forcing authorities to again close the crossing because of the demonstrations.
The border was closed for a week following the April 24 death of a woman who was crushed in a stampede at Ceuta that injured four other people. It was the second such death in recent weeks.
The woman was one of thousands of porters who carry goods across the border each day, often under hostile conditions where they face harassment and violence. This latest round of protesters drew porters and residents from the nearby community of Fnideq on the Moroccan side, to call attention to the dangerous situation.
Police and other Spanish security forces increased their presence on the Spanish side to prevent illegal crossings and other incidents, according to Le360.
Morocco World News said authorities have begun building a new crossing exclusively for women porters in order to reduce congestion and improve safety.
Ceuta is one of two enclaves that, although physically located on the North African shore, are European Union territory. In addition to the daily border crossing issues – compared by one Moroccan politician to the humiliating experience at Israeli-Palestinian controls – asylum seekers also crowd into the enclave.
Last week, Human Rights Watch appealed for a transfer to the Spanish mainland for LGBT asylum seekers who are being abused in the enclave. Hundreds of migrants from sub-Saharan Africa attempted to climb the fence from Morocco into Ceuta in February, while 1,000 did so on New Year’s Day.
The border has been the site of violent clashes between migrants and Spanish authorities in recent years.
Image: Somos Migrantes