Massive drugs bust as social networks falsely used to claim Puerto Rico “riot” on Monday night
A video, from the currently empty tourist resort town of Puerto Rico de Gran Canaria, was widely spread across social networks and Whatsapp groups on Monday night, reporting to show several units of the Guardia Civil’s Reserve and Security Group (GRS) rushing to the scene of a “riot”. Shared without question repeatedly, and falsely, claiming that there was a massive “fight” between some migrants and the police, and even suggesting that migrants were “destroying” the places where they are temporarily accommodated. Claims that some news outlets had to edit or retract. When agents arrived at the scene, they instead found a group of several migrants playing soccer.
Various news websites started to pick up on the reports and even shared headlines which they later had to retract or change to reflect the actuality of the situation, but not before hundreds and hundreds of social media users had commented and shared the false reports. This then subsequently led to a little avalanche of wholly unconnected imagery claiming to show a massive police presence, injured victims and ongoing violence.
From what we understand, speaking to local residents, however, it was pretty quiet in the Barranco next to Puerto Rico last night. None of which was true.
The events last night follow repeated claims, over recent weeks, of violent behaviour, mass brawls and “fights with police”, claims which simply do not reflect the daily reality of the situation in Mogán. While Guardia Civil and local police have been on occasion called to deal with unruly behaviour among migrants themselves, they say there have been only one or two occasions when law enforcement agents have made arrests for suspected criminality, including the arrest of a, suspected, minor last week for throwing garden furniture and an adult arrested in Arguineguín accused of attacking security guards, who also accused members of the Red Cross of participating in the altercation. There is an ongoing investigation regarding last Sunday’s break-ins at a local restaurant, from which bottles of alcohol were stolen.
These same messaging groups were used also yesterday to spread another hoax claiming the death of a victim of violence in San Fernando earlier in the day, and then went on to share videos and photos of a completely separate incident that occurred last weekend in the Plaza de la Música in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, falsely associating them with video of another knife attack from a hotel complex where an migrant was seriously injured.
In the case of the Guardia Civil speeding through Puerto Rico last night, caught on camera, the reports of a brawl turned out to be wholly inaccurate, according to the sources consulted by Spanish language daily La Provincia, as when agents arrived in the Agua de la Perra Barranco, overlooking the Puerto Base marina next to Puerto Rico, all they found were young people practicing sports, and playing football.
The fact that they should not have been playing football, under COVID Level 3 restrictions, is of course another matter. A misdemeanour at best, but certainly not the descent into anarchy that some out there might have you believe we are experiencing.
At the same time, last night, the Civil Guard intercepted a zodiac on the high seas, off the coast of Mogán, carrying between 1,200 and 1,300 kilos of hashish, along the south of Gran Canaria. A Guardia Civil Provincial Maritime Service patrol boat subsequently transferred the drugs to the Arguineguín Harbour, where the bundles were unloaded as evidence.
The marine intervention took place around 9:00 p.m. when the patrol located an inflatable rib near the coast of Mogán, where it supposedly planned to unload its cargo before agents managed to intercept it.
Inside there were dozens of bundles of hashish, according to the sources consulted, who specified that at around eleven o’clock at night the vessel had planned to enter the Arguineguín quay to proceed with unloading of their illegal cargo.