IMMIGRATION

PP blocks calls for investigation into Ceuta immigrant tragedy

Opposition vows to find alternative ways of securing a probe into the deaths of 15 Sub-Saharans

The ruling Popular Party (PP) has used its majority in a congressional body to block requests for an investigation into the rubber bullet incident in Ceuta, where 15 migrants drowned on February 6.

Although all the opposition representatives petitioned the Board of Speakers - which decides the agenda for plenary sessions - to include a debate on the advisability of an investigative committee in next week's session, the PP spokesman turned down this request before midday Tuesday.

"It's not that he said no to an investigative committee, it's that he said no to the possibility of debating the creation of a committee," said the Socialist spokeswoman Soraya Rodríguez about the PP's Alfonso Alonso. The representative for Izquierda Plural, José Luis Centella, spoke along the same lines.

We will not keep quiet no matter how much the government wants us to"

Even if the petition had been admitted into next week's agenda, the PP would have used its majority to kill any possibility of an investigation into the deaths of 15 migrants as they sought to swim around a seawall in Ceuta, after being repelled by the Civil Guard at the border fence. The EU suspects that the use of rubber bullets created a stampede that led to the deaths by drowning.

But the opposition has already vowed to find different ways of investigating the events.

"We will not keep quiet no matter how much the government wants us to," said Antonio Trevín, spokesman for home affairs for the Socialist Group. Socialist sources said they would put forward a non-binding resolution on the matter. “Something very serious happened in Ceuta and the deceased deserve something more than a burial in an anonymous grave. The PP needs to know that despite its absolute majority we are not going to forget, we will keep on asking questions."

Interior Minister Jorge Fernández Díaz appeared before Congress 10 days ago to offer explanations about the incident, acknowledging that the Civil Guard used rubber bullets but claiming that these were "fired at the water, not at people."

On Monday, Fernández Díaz traveled to Brussels to meet with the European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Cecilia Malmström, and personally explained what happened. Spain is now requesting 45 million euros from the EU to police its borders with Moroccan territory in its exclaves of Ceuta and Melilla.

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