National Police this Tuesday afternoon were ordered to remove about 200 migrants from the Port of Arguineguín dockside. The migrants, apparently all of Maghrebi or Moroccan origins interviewed by The Canary News and TheCanary.TV team, said that they each had friends or family on the island who were either coming to pick them up, or with whom they would be staying moving forward.
The fact of their removal and release was confirmed by police sources and also the Mogán Town Council, however no clear statement has yet been made as to who took the decision and what reasons there were for it. The mayor of Mogán, who for many weeks has made a show of wanting the migrants removed from the port came to the scene clearly panicked and without any clear knowledge of the decision to allow them to leave without supervision “Can’t you keep them here? Can someone make the translation for them?” the mayor is seen on video asking police in images that have been broadcast of the moment when the migrants were marched out of the temporary emergency camp set up by Red Cross, in the absence of any other infrastructure from the municipality or island and regional government in the face of a more than 900% increase in migrant arrivals so far this year.
Bueno’s deputy, responsible for security in the municipality, Mencey Navarro, explained that, after learning the migrants were leaving the dock, the town hall wanted to provide them with transportation to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, specifically to the Plaza de la Feria, which would place them nearer to Spain’s Government Delegation and the Consulate of Morocco. According to the distressed mayor, this group of immigrants were “put on the street without any resources, left out without food, drink or a destination to go, around 4:00 pm.” The Government Delegation in the Canary Islands at first would not respond to information requests to clarify the situation.
The mayor of Mogán apparently tried to prevent the decision to release the migrants directly onto the streets of the town, complaining that there should be controls or security measures, while the perplexed citizens of Arguineguín watched on. However it is clear that the mayor had no plan in place despite repeatedly calling out to the media that these people should be removed as quickly as possible.
At this moment more than 2,000 people are crowded on the dock, while the Maritime Rescue service is helping 190 more migrants who were rescued this afternoon from four different boats. The military camp installed in old Barranco Seco, in Las Palmas, according to the Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, was set up to replace the emergency camp on the harbour for the police review and process their cases, but is not yet operational despite the fact that the Army began pitching the tents last week. This facility has the capacity to accommodate 800 people, although it only has 200 beds.
Latest sources say the order to release them came from the Ministry of Interior and the reason given for the release is that 72 hours have elapsed since their arrival, and those released meet conditions so as to not have to be kept in the camp. The decision has been confirmed the the Spanish Government Delegation, on the basis that they must comply with the law, and the migration minister Marlaska’s assertion that migrants must not spend more than 72 hours in the Arguineguín camp…. [This article will be expanded]