Hundreds of migrants this morning stormed a fence separating Spain’s North African Ceuta enclave from Morocco.
CCTC footage showed the would-be asylum seekers wielding clubs and shears as they broke through the six-metre structure, police said.
Many of the sub-Saharan African migrants who managed to scale the fence were said to have been jubilant when they made it onto Spanish soil, despite the fact that some sustained injuries while getting over the barbed wire barrier.
A local official told the Associated Press that nearly 500 migrants forced their way over the fence in total, and that Moroccan security forces pushed back scores more.
Those who made it over the structure shouted “freedom” and draped themselves in European flags.
The Red Cross said it was treating around 400 injured migrants at its centre in Ceuta.
A spokesman for the charity said: “Red Cross Ceuta is assisting some 400 people in the [centre], although that’s not a definitive figure.
“We have not yet got information about how many are injured and possible transfers to hospital.
“Civil Guard indicate up to 500 people may have managed to make it into Ceuta.”
At the beginning of December last year, some 800 migrants attacked Ceuta’s security fence in a similar bid to enter Spanish territory. A little over half of them got through, and were taken to detention centres while their legal status was assessed by the Spanish authorities.
On New Year’s Day, another 1,100 migrants stormed Ceuta’s perimeter fence. On this occasion, only two were successful, both of whom required hospital treatment for injuries they sustained during their efforts to reach Spanish soil.
In a statement issued after this incident, Morocco’s interior ministry said: “From now on those making such attempts will be presented before the competent judicial authorities who will decree their expulsion from the kingdom [of Morocco] or heavier penalties, according the gravity of the act.”
Ceuta and Spain’s other territory in North Africa, Melilla, have the EU’s only land borders with Africa.
Migrants regularly attempt to enter Europe by crossing the borders of both enclaves, with many trying to scale security fences or swim out to sea from Morocco beaches to reach Spanish waters. The majority are intercepted and then returned to Morocco, while those who do make it through are often repatriated after being assessed.
Other migrants have attempted more inventive ways of sneaking themselves into Europe via Ceuta, with some either hiding in suitcases or concealing themselves in cars.
In 2015, it was reported that people smugglers were using jet skis to sneak their clients into Spanish territory from beaches on the north coast of Morocco. Traffickers were said to be charging €4,000 for the service.