Select Page

Spanish national detained by police on assault charges following various accusations and unclear motives for anger expressed at migrants

Spanish national detained by police on assault charges following various accusations and unclear motives for anger expressed at migrants

The Civil Guard main post in Puerto Rico de Gran Canaria, Mogán, have confirmed that they have detained a person -of Spanish nationality- on assault charges, as the alleged perpetrator of a crime, causing injuries, having physically assaulted another male during the early evening of the 9th December in the Anfi del Mar area, in the south western municipality of Mogán.

The detainee was sent before a Judge on assault charges in the town of Maspalomas, having been identified by the Guardia Civil, along with with a group of minors who, it has been alleged, also participated in the brawl, and whose identities have been passed on to the Las Palmas Juvenile Prosecutor for the instruction of appropriate proceedings.

It is thought that this particular incident of aggression is likely to be related to the angry mob that then marched through the streets of Arguineguín this Saturday, in an unauthorised protest, also in the municipality of Mogán, to stand outside a tourist complex shouting insults. A large group of local residents, joined by several others from elsewhere as far afield as Las Palmas, approached the entrance to one of the apartment complexes, which has been temporarily accommodating some of the migrants who have arrived on the island in recent weeks, with shouts of “Bullies, out!”.

The group of between 60 & 80 reached the main entrance of one of the complexes, having marched through the streets, and tried to access the private property operated by a local hotel group, but their entry was blocked when security guards locked the gates and thanks to the presence of the Civil Guard and local police.

Various versions of the altercation on Wednesday spread with viral videos and assumptions on social networks, after a young had woman claimed on instagram that her brother had suffered an attack by “20 Maghrebis” while he was out running. Other video released through Instagram appear show the brother of this young woman “provoking the migrants”, demanding to know if they had come to the Canary Islands “to bring the mafia.” The group of 12 teenagers were reportedly on a day trip to the south with two social educators who were their monitors and chaperones.

The man is allegedly asked to stop being abusive, by one of the educators looking after the group, and then appears to be blocked from trying to physically reach the youths, by that same educator, himself of Moroccan descent.  A short scuffle ensues, and the other educator present, a young woman, demands that the teenage boys stay clear and pleads for the fight to stop.  Once the man is exhausted, one of the youths leans over him and simply says “Finito?” (“Finished?”) before the other boys appear to pick up dropped belongings, directed by the male social educator to also look in the bushes, we are told, to hand back to the man.  The man claims he had been attacked and robbed by the group who he had been trying to stop from molesting some passing tourists.  The tourists themselves are not seen in any of the videos and have not come forward.

A later video, widely shared, shows two men beating another into a toilet at the hospital, where both groups had ended up for treatment.  Many watching the hospital video initially understood that the two men were migrants beating the supposed victim, however careful analysis has shown that the Arguineguín man, with one other, were actually the attackers in the bathroom.

No body is yet clear exactly what happened to start the original event, or what charges have been filed.  Nor is it clear from the current police reports exactly who has been charged or on what basis.

Following news of the assault charges, the Mogán town hall finally published a call for calm, more than 24 hours after the mob had gathered to intimidate the migrants temporarily accommodated in Arguineguín, who were wholly unconnected with the incident on Wednesday.  The problems being expressed in the area seem to have been fed by a severe increase in far-right rhetoric and both local and nationalist politicians giving fuel to the fire of local frustrations.  We await further calls for calm and reason while the investigation continues.

Many are asking why the local mayor has been so slow to encourage the rule of law, after having spent so many weeks at the forefront of fuelling the frustrations behind demonstrations, while appearing to demand little more than removal of migrants under the care of the state.

As of yet no distinct criminality has been reported or evidenced, with regards to the migrants themselves, though there are concerns about the rise of anti immigrant rhetoric that fails to take into account the reality of our current situation here on Gran Canaria.  That a mob formed in response to blame people completely unconnected with the original incident on Wednesday is just one clear sign that there may be further trouble brewing in Mogán.

The investigation continues.

About The Author