Over 700 hundred migrants have stormed the Spanish exclave of Ceuta, some armed with homemade flamethrowers, sticks, chemicals and even poo, after breaking through the border fence.
Some of them were cut with barbed wire while trying to climb the border fence, and others sustained broken bones. The scuffles also led to 22 border agents receiving injuries. Some agents were burnt as the migrants attacked them with homemade flamethrowers while trying to avoid arrest.
Illegal migrants were also reportedly fighting off the border agents with sticks, quicklime and sprays containing fouls odor.
The scramble over the barrier is the biggest in Ceuta since February 2017, when more than 850 migrants entered the overseas territory over four days.
It comes as Spain becomes the number one destination for illegal migrants crossing the Mediterranean by boat, surpassing Italy so far this year, according to the International Organization for Migration. The new communist Interior Minister recently said he would take down the razor wire at the border.
A statement from the Guardia Civil police force in Ceuta said “Some 800 migrants attempted to scale the perimeter fence, attempting to cut through the fence using shears at around 6.45 on Thursday morning.
Isabel Brasero, spokeswoman for the Red Cross, said they had to attend to 30 migrants with injuries, none serious.
Eleven of them were taken to hospital for stitches and possible fractures, she added.
Ceuta and Melilla, another Spanish territory on Morocco’s northern border, have the EU’s only land borders with Africa, which is why many illegal migrants try to reach them.