More than 200 migrants climb a fence in the Spanish enclave of Melilla | Migration news

The crossings come months after Ceuta’s other Spanish enclave witnessed an influx of arrivals amid the Madrid-Rabat dispute.

More than 200 migrants and refugees have crossed the North African enclave of Melilla in Spain after climbing the high fence that separates it from Morocco, according to local authorities.

In total, more than 300 migrants attempted to climb the six-meter (20-foot) barrier early Thursday morning, authorities said in a statement.

The 238 who entered the territory were all men.

Three police officers were slightly injured when they tried to stop them from crossing, the statement added.

Those who entered Melilla were then taken to a treatment center where they will need to self-isolate in order to prevent the possible spread of COVID-19.

Migrants and refugees are usually held in such facilities until authorities determine whether they can be returned to their country or whether they qualify for a stay in Spain.

Popular waypoints

Melilla and Ceuta – a second Spanish enclave also on Africa’s Mediterranean coast – are popular crossing points for migrants and refugees seeking a better life in Europe.

The territories have the only land borders of the European Union with Africa.

Both are protected by fortified fences with barbed wire, video cameras and watchtowers.

Since mid-May, more than 500 migrants and refugees have crossed the Moroccan border barrier to reach Melilla.

Meanwhile, more than 8,000 people swam in Ceuta or climbed the border fence in May after Moroccan authorities appeared to relax controls for a few days, prompting Spain to deploy additional troops and police.

the crisis came amid a major diplomatic dispute between Spain and Morocco over Madrid’s decision to provide medical assistance to a rebel leader in Western Sahara, a disputed territory annexed by Rabat in the 1970s.

Although the leader of the Polisario Front Brahim Ghali left Spain on June 2, diplomatic relations remained strained.

Official data on migratory flows to Ceuta and Melilla was still being updated after the increase in crossings in May, while the total number of interceptions to Spain increased by 57.5% for reach 13,483 people by the end of June.

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