Category: Immigrants

Latest Gran Canaria News, Views & Sunshine

Mogán town council assumes direct management of services on Playa de Mogán

The Mogán Local Council on Friday installed new sun beds and umbrellas on Playa de Mogán, beginning direct management of seasonal services of this popular beach, along with the other six beaches for which it now holds corresponding authorisations: Las Marañuelas, Costa Alegre, Taurito, El Cura, Aquamarina and Patalavaca. Since last summer they have also been in control of direct exploitation of  Puerto Rico and El Perchel beaches.  The majority of these coastal tourism enclaves were managed by private companies who held the concessions, some of which had been in place for decades. 

The Canary Guide #WeekendTips 27-29 January 2023

Tenteniguada Almond Blossom Festival
It’s the last weekend of January and exactly two weeks to go until the 2023 Carnival season starts on Gran Canaria. This weekend will most probably be enjoyed with a drop of wet weather, Sunday being forecast as the rainiest. The southern tourist enclaves look to also see a bit of cloud cover and even a small chance of seeing a few drops of rain. However you look at it, it may be handy to have umbrellas and raincoats around during the days to come. There is even the possibility of some snow on the mountains as we head into next week.

More than half of all Canary Islands properties sold last year were bought by foreigners, more than half of those non-residents

While we still await final figures for the last quarter of 2022, the latest official data from The Canary Islands has shown foreigners are buying more homes in the Canary Islands than ever before. The number of real estate acquisitions by non-residents in the Canary Islands has risen 52% compared to the same period in 2021, and is already 16% higher than the highest ever record set in 2017.

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Blood & Gold: The ‘Discoverer’ and the brutality of conquest

Many in Spain celebrate the national day, October 12, as a day for all Spaniards to revel in Spanishness, and remember an empire, replete with displays of military might, with marches and the waving of flags coloured blood and gold.
For many, it is not a day of celebration but a time worth spent remembering countless millions whose lives were so irrevocably affected after the arrival of one lost adventurer, who managed to find a small Bahamian island,  an ocean away from the newly united kingdoms of Spain, and their, just previously acquired, first colonial conquests. 

Disturbing paradise: A small group of foreign residents feel themselves “besieged” by youths living in a Puerto Rico de Gran Canaria hotel

Another normal day in Puerto Rico de Gran Canaria, but disturbances, on one street at least, have become more frequent in recent times. Some will claim there are “daily riots”, this is inaccurate.  There are incidents, however.  Mostly noise related, occasionally more serious.  And although almost every problem is pretty well contained within the one building involved, local residents are losing sleep. Some feel threatened when leaving their homes, for fear of the strangers across the road.
Never before have these neighbours had to deal with so many repeated police deployments, sent to calm altercations between raucous young teens, but then there are not really many teens who live in Puerto Rico, the resident population are usually more advanced in years. And then there is the noise, more than there ever used to be, easily heard through paper-thin walls, and open windows, of the tiny studio apartments, originally only meant as temporary accommodation, designed for a week or two in the sun, but now transformed into tiny dream homes, of 20 or 30 square meters, from which a sunset glass of wine on the balcony has ceased to have the same appeal it once did.
– Edward Timon .:.

The noisiest quiet little street in Puerto Rico
On Tuesday night up to nine police vehicles, including Policia Local and Guardia Civil, responded to a loud series of noisy altercations in the 3-star Puerto Bello Apartments, where unaccompanied Maghrebi Migrant Minors have been accommodated for the last six or seven months.
Local residents gathered on the street to watch as police entered the building to investigate the cause of the disturbance, after youths were reported throwing objects, plastic bottles and rubbish from the balconies of their rooms.
As is often the case with situations like this, there is unlikely to be an official explanation of what happened, as this is an ad hoc “reception centre” for under eighteen year olds, where it is generally accepted that some accommodated there my have issues with authority.
Locals at the scene talk of some sort of loud event, disturbing enough to bring neighbours out in to the street, and for some to take photographs and video of the police arriving and standing outside.  The disturbance itself lasted about 10 minutes, and at least 20 agents from the two separate police forces attended, perhaps a sign of the amount of calls they received, though the event appears to have been quickly controlled, their investigation continued quietly for an hour or more, watched by the weary neighbours of Tasartico road.
You can read more about the response to this incident over at El Sur Digital our local Spanish Language Partners on the south of Gran Canaria

Community is very important in a place like Gran Canaria, particularly for foreigners who choose to live here. Failing to understand how the local systems work, or who has responsibility for different areas, or indeed just not wanting to join in with the local politics of the various neighbourhoods, towns and municipalities, means many become disconnected from the practical day to day realities of island life, as well as administrative life in Spain.  Often lacking accurate information leaves some foreign residents open to constant rumours and misrepresentations of what is actually happening around them, and why.  Nonetheless, people manage to muddle on through, without much concern, until, that is, they are faced with an unavoidable, or unprecedented, large scale situation, for which there can be no easy answers.  Without a “usual” communication channel to the authorities, they naturally feel isolated and forgotten, particularly if they don’t understand any Spanish.
For many weeks, and months, there has been worry, concern and repeated outrage expressed by a small group of residents in the, currently empty, tourist resort town of Puerto Rico de Gran Canaria. Their complaints are centred not so much around the “sudden” surge in African migrant arrivals to the island over the last year, as they are, primarily, against the Spanish Central Government, and Canarian Government’s, failure to properly prepare or respond.  Many express themselves as being at their “wits end”, and, sometimes in hateful terms, describe scenes of mayhem “destroying” their lives. As evidence they will offer an occasional image of rubbish on their streets, which used to always remain clean; if a police car, or more than one, shows up, then it is immediately videoed and posted to social media, there have been at least three or four instances of windscreens broken, always photographed, and they talk of continual loud noises at night disturbing their sleep and leading them to feel “besieged” while having to observe curfew, though others are seen breaking the rules on movement at night.
Some say that their world has been shattered. Residents of this particular street, Calle Tasartico, say they have had to unfairly bear the brunt of hastily made decisions, wholly inadequate and rushed remedies, to problems far outside of their own scope of experience, while they try, despite the global pandemic, and the total disappearance of tourism, to continue their lives as they were before.
These residents are used more to living along tranquil, palm lined terraced avenues, nestled onto the quiet hillsides of this sunny little town, built for tourists, which overlook Spain’s very first artificial beach. They see no reason why the outside world should be permitted to change any of that, pandemic or not, migration crisis or not.  They feel that they are entitled to be shielded from having to deal with any of these difficult situations, and that they are in fact the primary victims of ill-thought through policies, the faceless politicians who’ve failed them and an apparent lack of interest in their complaints to the authorities.  They don’t want any of this, anywhere near them; and who would?
Their angers and frustrations have attracted vocal support, mainly through social media, from various quarters, the largest proportion of which comes from people who do not actually live on the island, but who may visit once or twice a year, and who have little interest in understanding any of the reasons behind the situations that have unfolded. And why should they?  For them, this is the place where magical holidays happen, where they come to get away from worldly problems, and expensive beer.  And if the tourists can’t make use of the place, during a global health emergency, then it should be left unused.
Saving tourism in Little Britain
Many, along with their supporters, are entrenched in a them-and-us mentality that weaves between various conspiracy theories of why migrants are “really here”, or “still here” and, who is “really” behind it all. Some appear to have switched from decrying Covid-19 restrictions, which stop them getting on a plane, even denying the need for restrictions at all, though most tend to denounce the apparently lackadaisical government handling of both the pandemic, as well as their disgust for the migration response policies invading their world view. More than anything, they share an all inclusive longing to be able to return to the mass tourism, cheap flights and sunny beach holidays that have made this town a favourite among British immigrants and holidaymakers alike.
Regardless of all other considerations, their stated mission is to “Save tourism” and their participation in this fight is visceral. They have attracted as much support as they can, making sweeping declarations, to try to bring attention to their pain, with a few thousand facebook fans and a few hundred Change.org signatures.  This has become their cause.  And their route to “victory” features the imminent removal of the much vilified youths, that they are forced to suffer in their neighbourhood, while tourists still cannot visit.
Lots of other nationalities enjoy this town too. Nearby Arguineguín is nicknamed Little Norway, for the nordic “snow-birds” who often stay between 3 and 6 months at a time during the winter, and indeed Playa de Mogán, further down the coast, became known as Little Venice, not so much for the increase in Italian immigrants to the island, in recent years, as for its (actually very small number of) waterways and harbour views. More than a few islanders, here, know Puerto Rico de Gran Canaria as our very own Little Britain, with no more than a hint of irony. For many of these foreign residents, it is a paradise over which a dark cloud has arrived and simply refuses to move on.
Nearly eight months is too long
Now that the vast majority of migrant arrivals, temporarily accommodated in the town over recent months, have been transferred, elsewhere, the main focus of anger centres on an ageing 3-star apartment hotel, where more than 100 migrant minors continue to be kept under the supervision of an NGO, Siglo XXI, who are specialised in working with socially deprived youths. In particular they work with youth offenders, providing “training and social reeducation for those admitted to internment of any kind by judicial measures” as well as  attempting to bring about “social integration of minors dependent on public institutions in reception or protection regimes.”  We can be sure, however, that they have never been caught in any situation quite like the ones they are having to deal with right now.  Hostile neighbours, large numbers of frustrated youths in administrative limbo, with no clear alternatives available and focused on trying to help the youngsters as best as they can, but without the resources necessary to do so.
This foundation is just one of several organisations tasked with trying to take care of large numbers of recently arrived unaccompanied minors, almost all teenage males, that remain the responsibility of The Canary Islands Regional Government.  Due to the numbers having to be looked after and accommodated, increasing more than 5 fold in just a few months last year, hurriedly organised solutions were found in the use of empty hotels on south of the island.  Though almost all of the adult migrants have been moved on, unfortunately there has been little by way of appropriate alternatives for the youths and so, since at least November last year, this organisation has had to deal with large groups of young teenage men, practically deprived of their freedom, and accommodated on a de facto residential street of tiny tourist apartments, purchased by or rented to longterm, mostly foreign, residents, despite still being very much classified and viewed as tourist accommodation by the local town hall and other administrations.  Nobody expected this quick fix to have to last so long, and frustrations are continuing to build.
In fairness local residents say that for the first two or three months they hardly heard a peep out of the youths, however towards the end of January something changed which led to increases in noise and at least two rowdy altercations, which led to the subsequent arrest of four teenagers, one of whom turned out to be an adult male falsely claiming to be a child.  He was removed, along with the other troublemakers, having led a noisy little rampage on February 8, which resulted in a microwave being thrown through a window, and police in riot gear going in to take control.  There are suspicions from some local observers that this same individual may have been involved in another altercation with police just two weeks earlier at a different complex for minors, and was possibly moved to the Puerto Bello apartments, where he caused more trouble, which then took root.  But we are unlikely to ever really know the truths of this story. What is clear is that tensions continue to rise, and local residents are trying to draw attention to what many of them see as an “invasion”, and that has a serious adverse effect on how we are perceived by would-be tourists, and how we perceive ourselves.  If we want to recover tourism, we need to stop looking like we are incompetent when it comes to reception and hospitality.
We must not let the indignation, no matter how well placed, nor perception of this being some kind of war zone, perpetuate. It is nothing even close to being a war zone, it is a quiet little street, in a still quiet little holiday resort, which has been forced to confront one of the more serious side effects of a migration crisis for which few had been adequately prepared. Compassion for how we as a society treat children, on their own, has turned into anger and distrust, without dialogue between the local community and the institutions struggling to ensure the care of vulnerable teenagers. There have been outbursts and recriminations. All in all there is a desolate feeling of helplessness.
What we do know is this:
As a temporary fix to an unprecedented emergency situation, accommodating these youths in hotels was effective and very likely the right thing to do at the time. Nearly eight months later, however, an alternative must be now found, and very soon indeed.  The perfectly predictable frustrations expressed by local residents, and of course felt by the youths themselves, can no longer just be explained away through urgent necessity.  It is deplorable and unfair that the Regional Government appears to have been left utterly isolated by the Spanish State, in the care of these children. The NGO’s involved are under immense pressure from all sides, but for now, it is the Regional Ministry for Social Rights, headed up by Noemí Santana, that must take full responsibility for finding the alternatives needed.  These youths must be found a home, or homes, not continue to be kept cooped up in a run down hotel with no clear view of their potential futures.
The Puerto Bello apartments are simply not up to the job. They have served their purpose, when the need was greatest, and it is now time to put an end to all procrastination.  Whether the government finds a large country house, or a farm, or one of the many other large empty institutional buildings that may serve as a longer term solution, whether it be an empty school, or an old hospital, whatever the solution is to be, it needs to be found without further delay.  The risks to everyone involved are far too great.  If this is a matter of money, we must find the money; if it is a matter of security, we must resolve those issues; if it is space we need, then it is space we must find or build; but we cannot let this rot continue further.
Let’s get back to building our communities, instead of allowing them to be so easily divided.  Gran Canaria must return to hospitality thinking as soon as possible, and provide adequate provision to ensure these young men are not being unfairly criminalised before they’ve even had a chance to make a life for themselves.
Call it what you like. Call it nimbyism, call it a lack of compassion, call it legitimate concerns for the future of a quiet little street on a hill, whatever needs to happen, this is a holiday resort preparing to return to work, after more than a year of uncertainty and struggle, and no longer can be seen simply as an unused resource temporarily out of operation.
Those teenagers definitely don’t want to be there, and like all teenagers they will acutely feel any hostility towards them and amplify it. This is why a more suitable solution must now be found, this current situation is just not healthy. The residents of Calle Tasartico want their street back to how things were before, quiet, untroubled and without the problems of the outside world visiting their doorsteps or interfering with their little piece of paradise.

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The Canary News

The British Embassy in Madrid have forwarded an update for UK Nationals as a reminder of the requirements for living as an immigrant in Spain 

An update for UK Nationals from The British Embassy in Madrid
From 1 January, UK Nationals have been able to spend 90 days out of every 180 within the Schengen area for tourism or other specific purposes, such as business meetings, without needing a visa. Any stays beyond the 90 days will be dependent on Spain’s visa and immigration rules and any UK Nationals who would like to discuss extending their stay should contact their local extranjería office or call 060.

All foreign nationals intending to stay in Spain for longer than three months have always been obliged to register for residency – whatever their nationality. Therefore if you arrived in Spain before 1 January you must take steps to become resident if you consider your home to be here. Otherwise, you should be arranging to return to the UK. If you are trying to become resident and are in the process of registering or appealing against your application having been rejected, the 90-day rule does not apply to you.

Living and working in Spain – Your Essential Guide for UK nationals living in Spain before 1 January 2021.
Brits in Spain:
Living and working in Spain – Your Essential Guide for UK nationals living in Spain before 1 January 2021.
The British Embassy in Madrid have produced a series of short guides to advise UK nationals who were legally living in Spain before 1 January 2021, what their rights in Spain are.
Here is their key information for living and working in Spain. On Friday there will be a guide for issues related to Travel and Pet Passports.
The links at the end of this video are:
1. Living in Spain guide: www.gov.uk/livinginpain
2. The document to show the validity of the green certificate: https://www.inclusion.gob.es/ficheros/brexit/nota_aclaratoria_green_certificate.pdf
Posted by TheCanary.TV on Thursday, April 1, 2021

HMA Hugh Elliott said:
“I’m aware that many second home owners are concerned about overstaying as we reach 31 March. The Spanish Government has been clear that it will take a pragmatic approach to anyone who is stuck in Spain due to circumstances beyond their control, so I don’t want people to be overly worried on that count. However, if people do not intend to become resident here in Spain and see the UK as their base, we do expect them to take steps to return to the UK as soon as they can.”
A Spanish Ministry of Inclusion spokesperson said “The Spanish Government is working to provide maximum legal certainty for British citizens resident in Spain. Throughout the negotiations, the issue of citizens’ rights has been, and remains, one of the main priorities. Spain is the country of residence of the largest community of UK nationals in the EU.
“The Spanish Government has no plans to deport British citizens who have made Spain their home and, for this reason, Spain has been one of the first EU countries to establish a documentation procedure under the Withdrawal Agreement, which consists of a declaratory system to apply for the new residence permit (TIE). We remind British citizens that, although there is no time limit, it is important to make this application as soon as possible as, among other things, it will facilitate the administrative processing and the crossing of the external borders of the European Union.”
If you are in the UK and considering travelling to Spain or are in Spain and have friends or family wanting to visit, you should be aware of the continuing travel restrictions on both leaving the UK and entering Spain. UK Nationals must make sure that they meet both the requirements to leave the UK and those to enter Spain, bearing in mind that they are not the same. From 30 March, entry to Spain will only be granted to those passengers who can demonstrate that their journey is essential, as well as to those who are already legally resident in Spain. Entering merely to visit, even if you have a second home here, is not a justified reason for entry. You may be questioned on arrival by Spanish border authorities to ensure you meet the entry requirements and they will only grant entry if they are satisfied that your journey to Spain is essential and reserve the right to deny passage. Ultimately, the decision on whether to grant entry into Spain is made by Spanish border officials as set out in our Travel Advice. For the latest information and links to the restrictions on leaving the UK and entering Spain, the British Embassy in Madrid advise people to visit the Travel Advice page on gov.uk and sign up for alerts, so that they are notified of any changes: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/spain

*Reminder: Our next Q&A will be next Thursday 8 April at 18:00 CET*
It will be streamed live from this page, and will…
Posted by Brits in Spain on Thursday, April 1, 2021

Here are some extra notes to remember:

Since 1 January 2021, British tourists have been able to travel visa-free for tourism or other specific purposes across the Schengen Area (except for Covid-19 restrictions) for up to 90 days in a rolling 180-day period. Anyone wishing to extend their stay, or become a worker or permanent resident will need to apply to the local authorities under Spain’s domestic immigration rules.
If you are unable to return to the UK before the expiry of your visa/permit or visa-free limit due to C-19 restrictions, you should contact your local immigration office (Extranjería) for advice.  You can also call 060 from a Spanish phone line.
Due to Covid-19, restrictions on entry from the UK into Spain have been in place since January 2021. Only Spanish nationals, UK nationals resident in Spain and other limited categories of entry are permitted. Please see FCDO Travel Advice for Spain for further details: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/spain
UK nationals and their family members who were lawfully resident in Spain before the end of the transition period, on 31 December 2020, can continue to live, work, study and access benefits and services, such as healthcare, broadly as they did before the UK left the EU.
Their rights are protected by the Withdrawal Agreement, whether or not they have registered for residency. Anyone who has not yet done so, should register for residency and apply for a TIE card which can be used to evidence their rights under the Withdrawal Agreement. Previous versions of this document (also known as the ‘green residency document’) remain valid. More than 360,000 UK nationals in Spain have already registered.
The procedure for applying the resident document,  which has been in place since 6 July 2020, distinguishes between those who already had a registration certificate or family member card of an EU citizen, and those who did not.
Those arriving after the transitional period, i.e. from 1 January 2021, will fall under the general immigration regulations. For more information visit:http://extranjeros.inclusion.gob.es/es/InformacionInteres/InformacionProcedimientos/index.html
The UK Government provides detailed advice for UK nationals in our Living in Spain Guide online at: www.gov.uk/livinginspain; and the Spanish Government has also produced a detailed Q+A document on residency in English: https://www.inclusion.gob.es/ficheros/brexit/guia_brexit_2020_en.pdf

Some more useful information:

Living in Spain: Healthcare
Brits in Spain:
Healthcare: Your Essential Guide – UK nationals living in Spain before 1 January 2021.
The British Embassy in Madrid have produced a series of short videos to advise UK nationals who were legally living in Spain before 1 January 2021, what their rights in Spain are.
This one takes a look at Healthcare. There is also a video on Living and Working in Spain and on Friday they will share their guide to Travel and Pet Passports for UK nationals living in Spain before 1 January 2021.
The link at the end of this video is: www.gov.uk/healthcareinspain
Posted by TheCanary.TV on Thursday, April 1, 2021

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The Canary News

Detained without bail: Three Ukrainian crew members from the hashish smuggling Panamanian-flagged fishing vessel intercepted last weekend

The Central Court of Instruction number 6 has agreed to the three Ukrainian nationals being detained without bail, all crew members from the Panamanian-flagged fishing vessel intercepted last weekend in the Atlantic, more than 300km south of the Canary Islands, which was found to be carrying a total of 18,985 kg of hashish, while they await trial. 

Legal sources have reported that the National Court judge decided to send the three detainees to prison without bail for an alleged crime against public health due to the aggravating factor of this huge amount, the largest such haul by Spanish authorities of notorious importance, after taking their statements by videoconference from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, where they have been since the ship was intercepted last Saturday.
Judicial provision for the operation (the warrant) – which usually must be carried out within a maximum of 72 hours – had to be extended until the authorities were able to ensure the rescue of more than 30 people that the Customs Surveillance Agents had found adrift and calling for help, from a dinghy on the open seas, at the very same time that they were heading to proceed to intercept the fishing vessel.
Legal sources point out that Judge Gadea agreed to delay the interrogations of the detainees to “prioritise the lives of these people over the mission they were entrusted with” in order to ensure assistance and rescue for the more than 30 migrants.
Operation Avio began last Friday, March 26, and concluded in the early hours of Saturday morning with the interception of the fishing vessel, named Albatros Guard VSL, when they were about 170 nautical miles southwest of the island of Gran Canaria. The agents seised 18,985 kilos of hashish and 595 bales. The accused will be detained without bail until their trial.

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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 homicide.

All of them were identified by migrants as the people who supplied and navigated the boats, which recently arrived on the coasts of Arguineguín, in Mogán (Gran Canaria), Órzola and Arrecife (Lanzarote). A total of 249 people travelled there in these boats, 55 of whom were minors, without any type of security measures, life jackets, food or drink. Four of the migrants died during the journey and one more after having been admitted to a hospital in Gran Canaria due to the terrible conditions on the trip.
The vessels arrived between December 27, 2020 and March 25, 2021 to 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 homicide.
Read More: https://www.facebook.com/TheCanaryNews/posts/4088772881145590
Posted by TheCanary.TV on Thursday, April 1, 2021

Six days at sea and five dead migrants
A total of 249 people travelled on these vessels, of which 55 were minors, and who sailed for days in boats whose safety and security measures were insufficient to make this journey. In addition, throughout the journey the migrants lacked sufficient food and water, so many were forced to drink sea water, leading to a worsening of their condition.
Specifically, one of the open boats carrying 52 migrants spent six days at sea until being rescued by Salvamento Marítimo (Marine Rescue) more than 130 nautical miles south of the island of Gran Canaria. Those on board declared that they had run out of water on the third day of the crossing, so they began to drink sea water. Four migrants died during the journey and one more in the hospital, due to the terrible conditions on the trip.
After being treated by members of the Red Cross, some of them were admitted to hospitals on Gran Canaria due to their compromised state of health.
Fourteen detainees
The National Police began an investigation that identified fourteen of the members on these vessels as the people responsible for their handling and navigation. The police investigation culminated in the arrest of all of them, accused as perpetrators of illegal immigration crimes, three of them also for belonging to a criminal organisation, and another four for reckless homicide.
The police efforts also made it possible to verify that two of the bosses arrested in Arrecife, a 53 year old and a 55 year old both of Moroccan nationality, have numerous prior police records.
Once the corresponding police reports were issued, all the detainees were placed at the disposal of the competent Judicial Authorities, who ordered eight of them into prison, while another six were awaiting judicial disposition.

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The Canary News

Meanwhile on Tenerife: Feisty British immigrant couple wrestled to the ground by Policia Local after illegally parking in disability space

Two brits living on Tenerife have been involved in a brutal street fight with Policia Local agents on the south of Tenerife. A British citizen, of about 50 years old, remained detained on Monday evening in the cells of the Adeje Local Police, after being denounced (accused) of having allegedly attacked an agent, on Monday morning, as he proceeded to issue a fine to a British immigrant couple for having illegally parked their vehicle in space reserved for people with disabilities, beside the César Manrique park, in the town of Adejero.

The episode occurred after the authorised user of the space, which is marked with the license plate number of their car, was trying to park in their space and found that it had been occupied by another unauthorised vehicle, without the corresponding permit, and so they called the Policia Local, whose job it is to enforce local parking laws and issue fines or even tow vehicles.

Meanwhile on Tenerife: British couple on Tenerife fight Policia Local
Meanwhile on Tenerife: British immigrant couple start throwing punches after being fined for parking illegally in a disabled resident’s designated space. A pretty brutal scene unfolds in front of their frightened young child and several onlookers.
Quick video narrated by an Italian neighbour 😀
Posted by TheCanary.TV on Monday, March 22, 2021

Two agents went to the park area and proceeded to issue a fine, normally placed on the vehicle, when a British immigrant couple, one of whom was the driver, now in custody, and a woman with a child, presumed to be his partner, approached the agents and started to argue, it was not long before one of the local police was allegedly attacked, and so the other tried to immobilise the woman who resisted and tried to assist her companion, while her young child called out for her mummy. The woman started throwing punches too and swearing at the police, as can be seen in the video, while her man was face down on the tarmac, also swearing, with two agents holding him having called for backup.
The policemen were finally able to bring the skirmish under control, which ended with the British citizen, a resident on that Island, being transferred to a holding cell, while the woman was freed to take care of the minor in her charge, said the Adeje press office. Charges against the woman have not been ruled out. The entire sequence of the fight was picked up by an Italian neighbour from her balcony, who narrates entertainingly, while other neighbours watch the altercation from the sidewalks and from inside the park, without intervening.

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The Canary News

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 migration that is good for no-one, not The Canary Islands, not the currently absent tourists, not the residents, not the governments, not the police, not the EU, and least of all, the migrants themselves.  After last year’s huge increase in patera arrivals many had hoped we had already lived through the worst of a situation about which we were being forewarned as early as summer 2019.

 
Search and Rescue flight path on Wednesday
All the current indicators, however, point to a further increase in migrant arrivals this year, and even after Spain’s and Europe’s failure to properly prepare, and their subsequently inadequate response in 2020, many fear the worst is still yet to come.  Gran Canaria’s Sasemar 103 Maritime Rescue (Salvamento Maritimo) aircraft have once more located boats adrift this week, the latest carrying about 40 people on board who were about 81.5 nautical miles (149 kilometres) southwest of Maspalomas (Gran Canaria). It follows the rescues of nearly 100 others, including women and children, in the preceding days, many of whom were in need of critical medical attention.
Salvamar de Salvamento Marítimo
Once found, the maritime rescue sent their Guardamar Concepción Arenal vessel to the area where the boat was located – a journey of about three hours to reach the exact point -, which also meant alerting a passing ship, which was in the area, the ‘Alicia’, to request they approach the migrant boat to help keep track of its movement and the people onboard. The prevailing currents in the area travel away from The Canary Islands, had they not been spotted they almost certainly would have perished in the open ocean as many do, without a trace, and without anyone ever knowing what has happened.
The maritime rescue Sasemar 103 has continued to search the stretch of water between Africa and the Canary Islands, Europes most dangerous migratory route, in the hope of locating any more boats that may be adrift, as this one was found only after several warnings about various vessels that have left the coast of Africa in recent days, although currently maritime rescuers do not know how many might still be found. Another one was rescued on Tuesday night not far from Gran Canaria.

Editor’s Thoughts:
While many oppose migration in open boats to The Canary Islands (practically no-one supports it) particularly following a 750% increase in arrivals during 2020, simply put, it is a fact that we are having to deal with.  There is literally no way to stop people risking their lives unless we invest longterm in improving their situations in their countries of origin.  Failure to do so is to simply accept that people in poverty will always try to find ways out of poverty.  We need to help them do that, or they will try to find any way they can with or without us, and that means more arrivals without any control.
Indeed there are those who oppose any type of maritime rescue efforts to prevent loss of life, but really, is there anything anyone can do in the short to medium term to stop would-be migrants from getting into rickety boats, often overloaded and not fit for purpose, in their attempts to escape the effects of climate change, poverty, hardship, oppression and conflict in Africa?  Those adrift that we don’t rescue are simply never heard from again.  Their failure is simply no deterrent, just letting people die does not stop others from trying, as the information is never heard by others who, rightly or wrongly, think the potential improvement to their lives worth more than wasting away in the place they were born.
All indicators so far this year point to an even greater increase in maritime migration in 2021, with more than double last year’s  numbers, the second highest number of arrivals in history, already having been registered during the first two and a half months of this year compared to the same period last year.
Anti-immigration protesters have focused on the temporary use of empty tourist hotels, as accommodation, in recent months, while internment camps were being constructed to try to deal with the large numbers who had already arrived. Almost all migrants that were briefly accommodated in otherwise empty hotels on the south of Gran Canaria have now been moved into camps to await deportation, or those with asylum claims (less than 10%) transferred to the mainland.  A further protest against migrant arrivals has been organised for Saturday the 20th March, where organisers will attempt to create a “human chain”, asking participants to all dress in white, in order to try to send some sort of public message about their dissatisfaction concerning people trying to come here in the first place.  The actual message behind the demonstration is not really very clear yet, though the event will apparently be filmed from a helicopter and so we are expecting a video production to subsequently make clear the organisers intentions.
While 23,023 individuals were recorded arriving by boat last year, all mostly stuck on the islands due to COVID restrictions closing down international travel, stopping repatriation or deportations, more than 17,000 of those arrived in the last four months of the year.  There were many who feared that large numbers of people unable to continue on their journeys towards mainland Europe would result in mass criminality, however crime actually went down last year, with a total of just 122 crimes involving migrants having been recorded in the 80 days prior to January 20th, 65 of those being falsified documents, and another 45 of those related to “security” issues having resulted from altercations among the migrants themselves.  While there have been some isolated cases of young migrants allegedly stealing booze from local businesses, and at least one accusation of serious sexual assault, all of which have resulted in immediate arrests and investigations, in general there has been little by way of trouble, with the exception of an occasional social media hoax, several false reports and a few would-be vigilantes with knives trying to present an atmosphere of mayhem, where there is none.
Irregular migrants, with nothing to do, and not allowed to leave the islands, have certainly been more visible, in the absence of any tourists for the last year.  While many have few if any resources, there are those of them who have enough support to survive a few months.  They receive no financial aid, and so quickly become dependent on the reception network, where they wait in hope, slowly realising that 90% or more of them will be told to return to their points of origin without ever getting to mainland Europe.
Small numbers of residents in the south have certainly felt less secure, many women report feeling intimidated by groups of young men hanging around the streets.  However there have been very few actual incidents. To try to allay public fears, about 40 extra Policia Nacional were drafted in to police the situation more visibly, and 20 or so of our specialist Guardia Civil tactical response unit, GRS8 based on Tenerife, were posted twice to the south of the Gran Canaria to ensure a very visible presence on the streets, however they have primarily been relegated to traffic controls and stop and search duties. One GRS8 officer consulted (not an official spokesperson) directly told The Canary News “Right now we are mainly here to help Canarian citizens and foreign residents to feel safer. Though we have been called to isolated incidents, our skill sets have not been required, so we observe and make sure that we are visible to the population, carrying out patrols and traffic stops.  There is not a serious security issue right now on Gran Canaria, it is more public relations to keep everyone calm.”
By far the biggest concern so far has been the handling of unaccompanied minors, more than 2,600 of whom are currently under the care of the regional government’s child protection services, with very little support having yet materialised from mainland Spain, with the exception of some extra finances, and wholly inadequate facilities being used to accommodate the youths among residents living in empty tourist resort towns.
Like it or lump it, we face an even larger influx of migrant arrivals this year, and therefore maritime rescue operations. Everyone, including Spain’s own recent Ombudsman’s report, agrees that the response has been wholly inadequate, and we as a society need to improve how we deal with the reality of something that cannot be easily stopped in the short term.  We face the potential of a quickly growing crisis, primarily humanitarian, here on Europe’s southernmost maritime border, if Spain’s central government and the EU do not act quickly to ensure that this archipelago does not become a prison, for both irregular migrants,  and residents alike over the coming months.  
With growing unemployment and an economy in free fall we can expect more tension from the resident population who see increasing migration as an existential threat on top of so many other calamities over which they have little or no control.  This will take a lot of energy and many years to effectively overcome, but right now we need to calmly deal with the realities of the situation.  We either work together to get through it, or more angry voices, offering no real solutions, continue to polarise our communities.
Edward Timon.:. Editor

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Four defendants jailed on remand without bail accused of an alleged sexual assault on the south of Gran Canaria

The judge at the San Bartolomé de Tirajana Court of Instruction No. 1 has ordered four defendants to be jailed on remand without bail, after they were arrested and appeared in court on the south of Gran Canaria, accused of an alleged sexual assault in a quiet neighbourhood park of Puerto Rico, Mogán, last Friday. The court heard their statements on Wednesday afternoon and they were ordered to take part in a line-up.

Three of the detainees are accused of a crime of sexual assault, and the fourth, as the main perpetrator, accused of two crimes also of sexual assault, in addition to the fact that each of them is an alleged accomplice to the sexual assaults committed by the others, one count for every member of the group.
The incident is alleged to have occurred in a small park area, located in the Agua La Perra barranco, on the eastern edge of Puerto Rico, last Friday night, according to a complaint filed on Sunday by the alleged victim. The 36-year-old woman, repeatedly reported as being of Irish nationality, however sources report this is incorrect and she is in fact of Nordic origins, has been living with her family in Puerto Rico for years. Press reports continue that she had been interested in the situation in which the group of young people found themselves, possibly starting up a conversation with them, when the alleged assault occurred, as reported to sources close to the investigation, however local sources close to the family refute this version of events.
One of the four arrested this Monday had apparently already been denounced by another victim for events of similar characteristics, that occurred in the same municipality of Mogán, say sources close to the investigation, who added that although he was arrested, he was later released.
The four arrested, had all been expelled from temporary accommodation centres, say press reports, and so are thought to have all been sleeping rough.
This has led to some anger among local groups campaigning for the removal of migrants from the municipality of Mogán, who have requested their supporters to “take photos” of any rough sleepers they find in the area, but to “not take the law into your own hands”  it is not really very clear what it is hoped that may achieve, but it is thought that anything upwards of one hundred individuals could well be sleeping on the streets having left reception facilities either for bad behaviour or of their own volition.

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