The small Spanish exclave of Melilla, a tourist and fishing town on Morocco’s northern coast, has long been a beacon of hope to struggling migrant workers travelling from sub-Saharan Africa. Some come for the promise of work, but most come to board ships headed to Europe.
Both Moroccan and Spanish officials have reportedly abused the border-crossers. The migrants were reportedly rounded up and dumped in the Moroccan desert without food or water, and several men were reportedly killed as they tried to charge the heavily fortified border fence. Those who make it into Melilla often find themselves in bureaucratic limbo, unable to board the ferries to Europe or go back into Morocco. As a result, many are left on the streets.
Jose Palazon — a Melilla resident who runs the organisation Prodien which attempts to help these illegal immigrants — took the photo Wednesday as more than 200 migrants attempted to cross the massive border fence. Clashes with police injured nine, though officials say the injuries were sustained from falls.
In the photo, the migrants are attempting to escape into the Club Campo de Golf de Melilla, a public golf course where games can cost up to around $US28 per 18 holes. The per capita income of Melilla is 15 times more than that of the surrounding areas of Morocco and astronomically higher than many parts of sub-Saharan Africa.