Select Page

Transfer of migrants from the Port of Arguineguín camp begins with noisy protests

Transfer of migrants from the Port of Arguineguín camp begins with noisy protests

Transfer of migrants from Arguineguín beginsThis Wednesday afternoon the first transfer of migrants from the Port of Arguineguín camp, by bus bound for the military tents of the newly set up Temporary Attention Centre for Foreigners (CATE) in Barranco Seco, Las Palmas, left just after 6pm, to the sound of jeering from a small group demonstrators at the port, waving Spanish flags and other symbols. The group of about 50 migrants was the first of 200 scheduled to be transferred this Wednesday from the port, a number alluded to by Mogán’s mayor yesterday. The newly erected migrant processing facilities, in the capital of Gran Canaria, had been arranged by the Spanish Migration Ministry and the Army last week, with preparations expected to be finalised this week.

Transfer of migrants was already planned

Transfer of migrantsThe fact that the plans were already in place to start the transfer of migrants on Wednesday raises several important questions regarding the sudden, and erroneous, eviction of more than 200 of them from the port on Tuesday, sparking national headlines and ubiquitous outrage and an ongoing investigation into how and why they were simply left to fend for themselves, first in Arguineguín and then transported to the capital to be left right outside Spain’s Government Delegation buildings.

Meanwhile, this afternoon in Las Palmas, Spain’s Government Delegate in the Canary Islands, Anselmo Pestana, made clear to journalists that neither he nor his team gave the order for the departure of migrants from the Arguineguín camp, on Tuesday, particularly without accommodation planned, which caused a situation he said “will not be repeated”.

Pestana did not wish to go into more detail, at this stage, about where, or from whom, the instruction came to march 227 Moroccan migrants from the Red Cross camp, but confirmed that they had all been at the port for more than the  72 hours legally allowed, and expressed his disapproval of it having happened at all without facilities prepared for them to move to. The Ministry of the Interior has opened an urgent investigation to find out why the situation occurred at all.

“It is evident that there has been a coordination error that we have to solve. The magnitude of the migratory problem facing the Canary Islands is paramount. We are talking about increases of more than 1,100%, with arrivals already having exceeded 18,000 people” he remarked.

Fernando Grande-Marlaska, Spain’s Interior Minister declared, this morning, at the Congress of Deputies in Madrid, that he has ordered a start to the transfer of migrants from the Port of Arguineguín to the Barranco Seco military camp.  The number of people on the dockside stood at 2,301 this Tuesday, about the same number of people who live in the town, while the capacity of new camp stands at just 800.

Today Pestana met with Sophie Muller, the head of the UNHRC refugee council operations in Spain, and this afternoon he met with the general director of the Policia Nacional, Francisco Pardo, the operational deputy director of the Policia Nacional, José Ángel Gonzalez, the Canary Islands Police superior chief, Rafael Martínez, and the sub-delegate in Las Palmas, Teresa Mayans, to visit the new CATE facility in Barranco Seco.

Anti-Immigration Protesters

Meanwhile, this Wednesday afternoon, outside the Arguineguín port, a ramshackle group of protesters demonstrated against the very presence of migrants at the Arguineguín dock. The group, carrying Spanish flags, and other nationalist symbology, caused heightened tension as protesters, many not wearing masks properly or observing social distance rules, harried journalists, and belligerently sought to hamper police efforts to ensure a smooth departure, following yesterday’s embarrassing scenes, that were broadcast on news channels throughout the country.

Slogans shouted included “Illegals Out!”, “Criminal government!”, “Government resign”, and the old chestnut “We are not fascists, we are realists!” all of which were seen and heard during the two recent Saturday demonstrations through the town, following a banner demanding “Stop Illegal Immigration”, and which appeared to be led by local mayoress, Onalia Bueno, and known far-right activists.

This Wednesday afternoon, even as the removal of the migrants began, their sparse protest held banners demanding “Stop the invasion plan” and “They do not respect our rights or our culture.” Cries accusing migrants of being “xenophobic to Canarian people” were also heard.  Bueno was nowhere to be seen, having spent much of the day making statements to the press.

Guardia Civil troops photographed protesters IDs and visibly applied controls to the situation to prevent missteps in, what everyone agrees, is an already very difficult situation. The small, but loud, rabble did what they could to grab the attention of the press.



Nearly 50 arrests as part of Gran Canaria Policia Nacional investigation against people trafficking to The Canary Islands

The police raids across the South of Gran Canaria, on Friday, as part of a cross border investigation into the illegal organising of irregular migration, in the municipality of Mogán, have resulted in nearly 50 arrests, with a confirmed total of 27 arrested on Gran...

Secret police operation makes 30 arrests since coordinated raids across south of Gran Canaria on Friday

Reporting: Timon .:. Cover Image: Bård Ove MyhrSpanish National Police have so far detained a total of around thirty people as part of a secret police operation, what is being termed as a macro-operation, against people trafficking and irregular migration, linked to...

Exclusive: Spanish police raids in Puerto Rico de Gran Canaria and Arguineguín, with Europol, result in at least 15 people detained suspected of people trafficking

There were at least 15 people detained in a combined operation between Spanish police and the EU Agency for Law Enforcement on Friday, when agents with balaclavas, bullet-proof vests and automatic weapons were deployed onto the streets of Puerto Rico de Gran Canaria...

Canary Islands working with Spain to better share responsibility for migrant minors, and employment rights for government workers, taking control of coastal management and planning

Ángel Víctor Torres, the President of the Canary Islands, met in Madrid this Tuesday with Spain's Minister of Territorial Policy and Public Function, Miquel Iceta, to conclude the process of transferring strategic competences, including coastal management, financial...

Fourteen men arrested by National Police including the skippers of seven boats that recently arrived on the coasts of Gran Canaria and Lanzarote

Spanish National Police have arrested a total of fourteen men on Gran Canaria and Lanzarote as alleged perpetrators of crimes connected to illegal immigration, three of them were charged also for belonging to a criminal organisation and another four for reckless...

Migratory flows headed for the Canary Islands continue to worry the Regional Government who fear “a constant humanitarian crisis”

Migratory flows, headed for the Canary Islands, continue to worry the Canary Islands Government, in particular the increases in two vulnerable groups: minors, whether accompanied or not, and women, particularly pregnant women. In fact, data from the last two weeks...

50 more feared perished at sea as Maritime Rescue search the ocean in response to warnings and a distress call from a sinking rubber boat

The Salvamento Maritime Rescue search plane that has been tracking the 100km-wide strip of ocean between Fuerteventura and Tarfaya (Morocco) this morning has not yet managed to find any sign of a rubber inflatable boat after the distressed occupants put out a call for...

Maritime Rescue operations have increased this week, with all indicators pointing to greater numbers attempting the crossing by boat in 2021

As the springtime arrives and the weather becomes less hostile, so The Canary Islands, and the 100km+ stretch of ocean separating us from the African coast, are likely once again to become the focus of Maritime Rescue operations in an increasing trend toward irregular...

Mogán electoral corruption investigation into serving mayor risks stalling, complain witnesses ready to testify

The current serving mayor of Gran Canaria's tourism hotspot of Mogán, Onalia Bueno (Ciuca, former PP), has been under judicial investigation for electoral corruption more than once.  The current and ongoing scrutiny she is being subjected to, along with her right hand...

First group unaccompanied foreign minors transferred to Castilla y León

A group of ten unaccompanied foreign minors were transferred this Wednesday to Spain's autonomous community of Castilla y León where they will be placed under the care of region's child protection service. Five of them will head to the province of León and another...

About The Author