Situation in the Canary Islands worsens

The situation in the Canary Islands with regards to the unprecedented arrival of immigrants by boat everyday is worsening.

A policeman was attacked by around 20 detainees last Tuesday. Although official sources have dismissed the incident as a minor scuffle the reality of the situation is quite serious. There are only about 30 policemen for the three detention centres and two military bases which are being used to detain around 7000 immigrants.

According to Agustín Brito Machín, the General Secretary of the Spanish Police Confederation in the Canary Islands, the immigrants have been quite docile until now but that due to overcrowding the situation is getting very tense.

He has also asked for between 700 – 1000 extra police to be sent to the Islands to help control the centres to avoid any further serious incidents and to prevent any immigrants escaping. It has also been pointed out that the police normally work 37.5 hours a week but at the moment they are working up to 70 hours.

The incident that occurred last Tuesday happened when a policeman intervened in a fight between two of the detainees. Following this intervention he was surrounded by about 20 detainees who kicked and punched him.

Yesterday, a further 188 immigrants arrived on the Canary Islands in 3 boats. Two in Tenerife and another in El Hierro.

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