Quotes: US MENA   Enter Symbol: NewsLetter: Search: advanced

Tensions in Tangiers after migrants die in police raids  Join our daily free Newsletter

MENAFN - AFP - 20/12/2013
No. of Ratings : 0
Add to Mixx!



(MENAFN - AFP) In the poor Tangiers suburb of Boukhalef, cramped apartment blocks house hundreds of sub-Saharan migrants dreaming of reaching Europe, but tragedy has turned it into a flashpoint for racial tensions in Morocco.

During a police raid earlier this month, a young Cameroonian called Cedric was chased onto the roof of one of the four-storey buildings and then fell to his death.

It was the second such death in two months, after a Senegalese man fell from his fourth-floor flat in October during another police raid.

The raids came despite a promise from the government of a new immigration policy to address concerns expressed by King Mohamed VI about the treatment of migrants from sub-Saharan Africa.

After the second incident, angry fellow migrants carried the Cameroonian's body through Boukhalef's streets protesting police "crimes" against their ranks.

Four days later, some 100 Moroccan residents staged a counter-demonstration under the gaze of police, chanting: "We are not racist, but we don't want blacks living here."

A former flatmate of Cedric, another Carmeroonian named Telly, said he and his friends were surprised and upset by the rising hostility.

"It's the first time this has happened. And we are really afraid now because we don't know what to expect," the 23-year-old said.

"We feel the police are trying to chase us out of Tangiers," a city that lies only a short boat trip from the southern tip of Spain.

Boubker el-Khamlichi of the Moroccan Association for Human Rights blasted the treatment of the migrants as "savage". He charged that it was a deliberate bid -- with backing from Europe -- to deter them from attempting the crossing.

"It's a policy. It really is a way of pressuring the migrants to leave voluntarily. Europe is giving money to Morocco to play the role of policeman," Khamlichi said.

"We don't know whether or not Cedric was thrown by the police. But the reality is, there have been three deaths as a result of raids by the police. They are responsible."

Tangiers police chief Abdellah Belahfid declined to comment on Cedric's death, saying the public prosecutor had ordered an inquiry.

But he denied his force was bowing to any European pressure to stop the flow of illegal migrants.

"The raids are a part of routine police operations, because among the immigrants there are networks involved in the trafficking of hard drugs," Belahfid told AFP.

In November, the government said that an "exceptional operation" would take place in the new year to sort out the status of some of the tens of thousands of sub-Saharans residing illegally in Morocco.

But the country is clearly struggling to cope with the tide of migrants hoping for a better life in Europe, most of whom arrive in Morocco through neighbouring Algeria.

In the first week of December alone, more than 200 migrants were arrested as they boarded boats along the Tangiers coast in their bid to reach Spanish soil, state media reported.

Rights activists say that to thwart attempted crossings, authorities have rounded up hundreds of migrants, sometimes violently, and bussed them hundreds of kilometres (miles) farther south to Rabat or Casablanca.

On a single day last week, 200 migrants picked up from Tangiers or nearby Nador were dumped on the streets of the capital Rabat, said Hicham Rachidi, founder of migrant support group GADEM.

Some had serious injuries sustained during the police operations, he told AFP.

"They drop them off next to the police headquarters, and tell them to go and ask the NGOs for help."

Rachidi called for urgent implementation of the government's promised immigration changes.

"We need a new approach, a new mentality and new officials, or a retraining of the officials who applied the old policies," he said.

"There are 65,000 members of the auxiliary forces. When you leave people like that to just round up illegal immigrants, without training, guidance or procedures, it's difficult to avoid abuses."

Other incidents have fuelled the fears of sub-Saharan migrants. Activists say a Congolese resident of Tangiers died in July after a police officer pushed him from a bus as he was being deported to the Algerian border.

And in August a Senegalese man was stabbed to death at the central bus station in Rabat.

In Boukhalef, meanwhile, dozens of migrants -- unable to work without any official status -- bide their time in the streets under the suspicious gaze of Moroccan residents.

"I left my country because of dictatorship," says Ibrahima, 36, from Gambia.

"For more than a year I have been waiting for refugee status. Without it, how can I survive?"

"If I go and ask for a job on that building site, they want to see my residency permit," he adds, pointing to a mosque under construction across the street.


 






  MENA News Headlines
 Sep 2 2014 - Egypt military academy stampede kills 9Arab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) CAIRO Nine people were killed on Tuesday in a stampede outside a military academy in Egypt by relatives seeking to visit cadets the army said in a statement.The military released ...

 Sep 2 2014 - Attack on Egypt security convoy kills 11 in SinaiArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) CAIRO: An attack on a convoy killed 11 members of the Egyptian security forces in the Sinai Peninsula on Tuesday security and medical sources said.Two were killed by a roadside ...

 Sep 2 2014 - UAE- Human League to perform in DubaiKhaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) The Human League bring their electro-pop back catalogue to Dubai New wave legends The Human League will bathe The Irish Village in synths for their show on Thursday September ...

 Sep 2 2014 - UAE- Ismail Matar backs Mahdis contract extensionKhaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Matar hinted that het could be able to return to the pitch in two weeks time after covering half of the four-week period decided by the doctors for his recovery.Dubai: Al ...

 Sep 2 2014 - Dubai does well to curb thalassaemia in newbornsKhaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Drop in the number of disease cases attributed to awareness campaigns screenings.The number of cases of thalassaemia in newborns in Dubai has drastically reduced due to the ...

 Sep 2 2014 - UAE- Umm Al Quwain offers 50 per cent off on traffic finesKhaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) The 50 per cent cut on pending fines includes unpaid fines for speeding and other traffic violations available till December 5.The UAQ Police are offering a 50 per cent ...

 Sep 2 2014 - UAE- Ajman launches online renewal of car registrationKhaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) The programme also provides the opportunity for public to renew their registration card without having to visit the traffic department.The Ajman Police on Monday launched its ...

 Sep 2 2014 - UAE- Cop accused of kidnapping raping womanKhaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) He drove her to a dark location near a construction site after offering a lift where he allegedly raped her.A cop has been charged in the Court of First Instance with ...

 Sep 2 2014 - UAE- Manager blackmails women staff for sex court hearsKhaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Three women have complained against the 31-year-old man alleging that he had been constantly sexually harassing them.A Palestinian manager has been brought before the Court ...

 Sep 2 2014 - UAE- 22-year-old Indian found hanging from treeKhaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Police patrols and paramedics were rushed to the spot who took down the body and transferred it to Al Dhaid Hospital for an autopsy.A 22-year-old Indian man was found hanging ...

more...


 






Google

Live Currency Rates

 
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network

MENAFN News Market Data Countries Tools Section  
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network
Arabic MENAFN

Main News
News By Industry
News By Country

IPO News
Islamic Finance News
Private Equity News

How-To Guides
Technology Section

Travel Section

Search News

Market Indices
Quotes & Charts

Global Indices
Arab Indices

US Markets Details

Commodoties

Oil & Energy

Currencies Cross Rates
Currencies Updates
Currency Converter

USA Stocks
Arab Stocks
 

Algeria 
Bahrain 
Egypt 
Iraq
Jordan 
Kuwait 
Lebanon
Morocco 
Oman 
Palestine
Qatar 
Saudi Arabia 
Syria
Tunisia 
UAE 
Yemen

Weather
Investment Game
Economic Calendar
Financial Glossary

My MENAFN
Portfolio Tracker

Voting

Financial Calculators

RSS Feeds [XML]

Corporate Monitor

Events

Real Estate
Submit Your Property

Arab Research
Buy a Research

Press Releases
Submit your PR

Join Newsletters


 
© 2000 menafn.com All Rights Reserved.  Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Advertise | About MENAFN | Career Opportunities | Feedback | Help