Two Spanish nationals charged with assault, causing minor injuries, and released before preliminary hearing on Tuesday
The Duty Court of San Bartolomé de Tirajana (Gran Canaria), Court of Instruction Number 1, has provisionally released the man who is alleged to have attacked another on December 9 in the Anfi del Mar area, in the municipality of Mogán , for which he was charged with assault and detained by the Guardia Civil over the weekend.
The detainee is alleged to have committed a crime, causing minor injuries, and appeared in court on Sunday morning and he was then provisionally released, after giving a statement, according to the Superior Court of Justice of the Canary Islands (TSJC) .
At the same time, the detained man filed charges against another person involved in the altercation, also a Spanish national, alleging that he in fact was the perpetrator. This second person also appeared in court on Sunday, having been summoned by the police, and was also provisionally released after being charged with assault, a minor offense (what was previously known as a misdemeanor), for allegedly causing injuries.
Therefore, both men will appear again in court on Tuesday, December 15 , for ordinary preliminary proceedings.
A confrontation near to a Mogán beach, in front of the Anfi del Mar plaza, took place between Kevin León, 27, from Arguineguín, and a social educator, named Rachid, of Moroccan origin, and sparked a wave of anti-migrant commentary across social media. The conflicting versions of how the brawl occurred last Wednesday around 7:00 p.m. differ strikingly, and both parties involved have filed complaints with their injury reports .
No sooner had video emerged of the altercation along with video of a second later altercation at a medical centre, than did various individuals begin to publicly identify the people involved and denounce Rachid’s colleague, Indira Díaz, a social educator also present at the events, leading to her receiving multiple threats of violence through social networks. Díaz can be heard on the videos telling Rachid to stop talking to the Arguineguín man, advising him to “leave it, it’s a waste of time”, as well as asking the minors in their charge to stay away from the conversation and the altercation itself, crying out, “No, no, stop now”.
Many sharing the videos appear to have made rapid assumptions about what they were seeing and decided, wrongly, to apply responsibility towards migrants, in particular blaming those temporarily accommodated in nearby Arguineguín. This then led to an angry group of, reportedly, sixty to eighty or so people, made up of local residents joined by others who arrived from various parts of the island, on Saturday morning, to march in a seemingly spontaneous, and unauthorised, protest, arriving at an Arguineguín tourist apartment complex to challenge, remonstrate and insult the migrants who are being sheltered inside. Video again records their angry shouts of “Abusers!”, “Out!”, “Moros out!” and “You bastards will find out!” The vast majority present were apparently young men seeking some sort of retribution, according to some sources, for the alleged aggression suffered by a local resident.
There appears to have been no other connection whatsoever between the events of Wednesday night and Saturday morning. The “Platforma de Arguineguín” facebook group, which has been involved in coordinating, with the backing of the local mayor, several authorised protests in collaboration with some other political organisations, appears to have been one of the primary provocateurs of the angry mob, publishing videos with the claim that Arguineguín was “taking matters into their own hands.” Las Palmas based political formations, known for their anti-immigration rhetoric, also partook in spreading various claims regarding the original incident, which then led to some of their supporters arriving in the town on Saturday morning.
Serious questions remain as to why there are such apparent differences between the video footage and the original accusations made, and why it took the Mogán town hall more than 24 hours to publicly call for calm, which only happened after the first man was charged with assault. Regional and local politicians have made clear that xenophobia and racism must not be allowed to drive events, calling for all citizens and residents to work together to ensure that any complaints can be investigated and dealt with calmly and guided by the rule of law. Tourism entrepreneurs and representatives have also made statements denouncing Saturday’s angry mob and calling for calm, expressing fear that it is this sort of imagery that is more likely to harm local tourism, they say, than any negativity that might come from temporarily accommodating migrant arrivals.
It will be for the investigating judge and the Guardia Civil to try to establish the facts of this case, with both complainants having been charged with assault.
Local news stations have tried to keep up with events. (Turn on captions for English translation)
Meanwhile, fear has been sparked with calls for citizen militias to form, threatening to patrol the streets, in posts on social media, amidst a clear rise in hate speech and even incitement to violence.
We need to ask ourselves: Is this really how we want to act regardless of a total lack of evidence of any criminality from the migrants temporarily in our care?
Rumours of wrongdoing are simply not enough to justify vigilante action.