Gibraltar Accuses Spain Of Sovereignty Violation

Gibraltar today accused Spain of committing a “serious breach of British sovereignty” over an incident involving Spanish customs officers attacked by smugglers, in which shots were apparently fired.

“The evidence surrounding this incident reveals a serious violation of British sovereignty and, potentially, the most serious and dangerous incident for many years,” Gibraltar’s head of government, Fabian Picardo, said in a statement after the events that occurred. the day before on a beach in the British enclave.

However, he affirmed that “before reacting” they want “to be sure of the facts”, although “events indicate that the actions of Spanish officials are intolerable.”

The incident occurred before dawn yesterday when two Spanish customs agents entered Gibraltarian Playa de Levante chasing some smugglers, who began to throw stones at them, which led them to use their weapons, a source told the AFP news agency. from the Spanish tax administration who requested anonymity.

The same source indicated that the two customs officials were injured, without specifying the severity of the injuries.

“If it were confirmed that the Spanish agents fired their weapons in Gibraltar, such an action would be a serious violation of the law, as well as reckless and dangerous, especially in an area of dense civilian population, given the proximity of a residential development in the area.” Picardo said.

Meanwhile, sources from the Spanish Customs Surveillance service indicated that the agents observed movement allegedly related to tobacco smuggling in waters near the Gibraltar Gate and suffered problems on the boat as it was on the Gibraltarian beach, where they were surrounded by a group of people who began to throw stones at them, reported the Europa Press news agency.

Although they were able to refloat the boat and reach the patrol boat under row, the officers suffered facial injuries: while one suffered a broken nasal septum, another had several broken bones and required hospitalization, they added.

Spanish Law Enforcement

Spanish law enforcement knows that they can request and have the support of Gibraltarian law enforcement if they need to continue a pursuit in Gibraltar, but it appears that they have not done so in this case,” the Gibraltarian authorities criticized.

Faced with this situation, the Governments of Gibraltar and the United Kingdom indicated that the events “will require a careful evaluation as to the nature and level of the diplomatic response”, for which reason “they will contact Spanish officials to ask them for explanations before to make a final decision on the measures to be adopted”.

Spain ceded Gibraltar to the British Crown in 1713 as part of the Treaty of Utrecht, but has since claimed sovereignty, leading to regular border friction and diplomatic tensions between Madrid and London.

These reached their highest level in 1969, when the Francisco Franco regime ordered the closure of the border, which was not fully reopened until 1985.

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