Friday 23 March 2018

Gibraltar protesters to be blocked

Spanish motorcyclists are planning a protest ride to Gibraltar
Spanish motorcyclists are planning a protest ride to Gibraltar

A planned cross-border protest ride by Spanish bikers will be blocked from entering Gibraltar, police have said.

The "Marcha de Moteros" (March of Bikers) is being promoted on Facebook as a "citizens action" in support of Spanish fishermen and border police in the ongoing row with the UK and the British Overseas Territory.

T-shirts that proclaim Spain's sovereignty over Gibraltar, which was ceded to Britain 300 years ago, are being sold on eBay for bikers to wear on the day.

The Royal Gibraltar Police said it would stop any bikers who arrived at the frontier from crossing to avoid breaches of the peace. The force tweeted: "A FB (Facebook) site 'Marcha de Moteros' in Gib in support of fishermen is making people anxious. Rest assured such demo will be stopped at frontier."

The Facebook group for the event says they plan to generate "international attention" with the procession on September 21, with red and yellow Spanish flags on their motorcycles and T-shirts.

Last week Prime Minister David Cameron said Britain "will always stand up for Gibraltar" and its people, as he held talks with Fabian Picardo, its chief minister, at Downing Street.

The meeting to discuss the ongoing border dispute with Spain came as Spanish police unions organised a protest at the border over injuries reportedly inflicted on a Guardia Civil officer by a Gibraltar-registered car.

There have been reports of increasing violence at the border in recent days as angry commuters face long queues to get to homes in Andalusia.

Spain imposed strict checks on traffic at the border with Gibraltar in protest at the creation of an artificial reef. The Spanish say the 74 concrete blocks on the seabed disrupt an area used by its fishing boats, while the Gibraltarians say it was a necessary environmental measure. The row has gone all the way to the European Commission and continued to simmer.

There have been claims of missiles being thrown at Spanish border police and two unions organised a protest last Friday after reports a Guardia Civil officer was injured by a Gibraltar-registered car that failed to stop.

Press Association

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