MORROCO The Tragedy of Melilla

A real human tragedy took place on June 24 in the north of Morocco after the attempt by about 2,000 migrants from sub-Saharan countries to enter Mlilya (in Spanish Melilla), an enclave occupied by Spain. This attempt was repressed in a bloody and deadly manner, costing the lives of at least 23 young migrants and injuring dozens. Their only « crime » was to enter Europe through this occupied city. 

This tragic event coincided with another similar event: The death of at least 46 migrants trapped in a truck in San Antonio, Texas, after a day of extremely high temperatures. This occurred about 145 miles from the border with Mexico. The young people who died were hoping to reach the United States. 

Moroccan activists preparing the World Conference against War and Exploitation, for the Workers’ International Have sent us this contribution.


While many voices are calling for an investigation into the deaths of the migrants, the Spanish government – a « leftwing » government – has praised Rabat’s « collaboration in defending its borders. » The Moroccan authorities, on the other hand, are conducting a real manhunt against dozens of migrants. Thirty-seven have been charged with « illegal entry into Morocco,” « violence against law-enforcement officers,” and holding an « armed gathering, » according to their lawyer, Khalid Ameza. Twenty-eight other migrants will be tried for « participation in a criminal gang to organize and facilitate illegal immigration abroad, » according to the lawyer, who reports that the majority of the defendants are from Darfur (western Sudan), which is in the grip of a serious food crisis and where recent violence has left more than 125 people dead and 50,000 displaced. Others are Chadian and Malian, and one is Yemeni. 

The death of these young Africans reveals the deadly nature of the “security” cooperation between Morocco and Spain and exposes the criminal policy of the European Union. « In Nador, we were beaten in an inhumane way, » Omar, a Sudanese migrant who fled « war and prison » in his country, told Agence France-Presse. « We don’t feel safe here, our lives are in danger. » 

The responsibility of the labor movement, in Morocco as in Spain 

The labor movement – in Morocco, Spain and internationally – should state loud and clear that the only one responsible for these repeated tragedies is imperialism and its murderous plans in Africa, namely, the IMF plans that ravage the nations of the continent, the structural adjustment plans, and the debt that crush workers and youth. 

It is these criminal plans that fuel the armed conflicts and wars that are ravaging dozens of African countries, causing famine and driving entire populations to flee. The refugees are hoping to enter Europe to survive, while the European Union and European governments are pushing to make Morocco the watchdog for the protection of its borders, imposing trade and economic agreements that only worsen the situation of workers and youth in Morocco. 

Organizations that speak for workers and democracy, in Morocco as in Spain, must condemn this racist and criminal policy pursued by the European Union and its local agents. They must demand the legalization of all refugees, the free movement of citizens, and the right to refuge. They must condemn the military interventions and economic plans, debt and free trade agreements that are ravaging the African continent. 

Moroccan activists preparing the World Conference against War and Exploitation, for the Workers’ International 

NATO in North Africa to « protect the European Union » 

The Spanish « socialist » Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez, congratulated the Moroccan gendarmerie, saying « this was an aggression (by migrants) against us, which the police forces of both countries dealt with perfectly ». The governor of Mlilya, Eduardo de Castro, asked that NATO participate in the defence of Mlilya and Sebta (Ceuta, the other Spanish enclave in northwest Morocco). 

The NATO Secretary General said that he is « convinced that NATO allies would support Spain in the event that it is threatened ». The Spanish government (composed of the Socialist Party, the Communist Party and Podemos) took advantage of the NATO summit in Madrid to ask for an advanced participation of the alliance in North Africa!