The Las Raices camp, in La Laguna (Tenerife), will expel migrants to avoid more conflicts | Spain

Agents of the National Police in the action this Tuesday in the Las Raices camp, in La Laguna (Tenerife), during altercations between migrants residing in the reception center.
Agents of the National Police in the action this Tuesday in the Las Raices camp, in La Laguna (Tenerife), during altercations between migrants residing in the reception center.Ramón de la Rocha / EFE

The fights between immigrants that took place this Tuesday in the Las Raices camp in La Laguna (Tenerife) have led Accem, the NGO that manages the reception center, to apply the internal protocol more harshly. Until now, the organization had avoided expulsions so as not to leave the people it hosts homeless, explain sources from the organization. But now it will apply the measure, contemplated in its guidelines, when there are fights or other disturbances of coexistence. The altercations on Tuesday between groups of Moroccans and Senegalese resulted in three serious injuries who remain hospitalized and stable, another seven minor and eight detained.

The Court of Instruction number four of La Laguna, acting as guard, has ordered this Tuesday afternoon the entry into unconditional preventive prison and communicated five of the eight detainees this Tuesday, the five Moroccan migrants. The judge charged them with crimes of injury, tumultuous quarrel, public disorder and attack on a law enforcement officer.

To avoid new incidents and improve coexistence, Accem will establish meal shifts in the dining room according to the areas of origin of the guests.

Several dozen Moroccan migrants, former residents of Las Raices, have been camping for more than two months on the outskirts of the compound that, according to some testimonies, they abandoned due to its poor conditions. It was precisely in this informal settlement where the brawl on Tuesday originated, which later moved into the camp. Until now, sources from Accem explain, the occasional entry of these migrants was allowed to use the services. But after the altercations they will be denied entry.

The Las Raices camp on March 18.
The Las Raices camp on March 18.Joan Mateu / AP

The Las Raíces camp occupies the place of a former military barracks, in a humid and wooded area of ​​the municipality of La Laguna. The facility accommodates 1,464 people. Since its opening, residents’ complaints about the living conditions in the center and the quality of the food have abounded. The protests also reflect common frictions between groups of different nationalities, especially between Moroccans and Senegalese.


Sources of Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migrations they assure that the Tenerife camp is under special supervision. “We are constantly evaluating the situation in all the centers through our emergency unit in the Canary Islands. In particular, this monitoring is focused on Las Raíces ”, they assure. The same sources cite as an example of this vigilance recent improvements in diet: a few weeks ago the rations were increased and the menus were varied.

The expulsion of a migrant from a reception center is the responsibility of the organization that manages each facility. The Red Cross is responsible for the Canary Islands 50 (Gran Canaria) and El Matorral (Fuerteventura); Cruz Blanca, from the León School in El Lasso and a warehouse loaned by Bankia in El Sebadal (both in Gran Canaria); and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), from Las Canteras (Tenerife). Once the measure is adopted, the organization writes a report with the causes and the situation that determines the decision and communicates it to the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migrations.

At the end of February, the Red Cross expelled a group of 64 migrants from the Canarias 50 reception center because, as the organization stated, “they showed an aggressive attitude and made threats to other residents and Red Cross personnel,” which prompted the intervention of the police.

The director of the Spanish Commission for Refugee Aid (CEAR), Estrella Galán, warned this Wednesday that the incidents that have occurred in the Las Raices reception camp are “the tip of the iceberg” of the deterioration which, she understands, can derive policies that turn the Canary Islands into “prison islands”, they report Diego Estébanez and Elisa tasca. “[Los altercados de Tenerife] They are the most serious of this entire migratory crisis, ”says Galán, who describes the intervention of the National Police as“ barbarity ”, which adds to“ that negative image and conflict ”.


Added to the discomfort of many inmates, the decision to block the diversions of migrants to the Peninsula has spread frustration, discouragement and a sense of loss of time among the more than 5,000 people that the Executive keeps blocked in the archipelago, although altercations of the magnitude of Las Raíces are exceptions. “I wanted to change my life, not just limit myself to eating and sleeping,” explains Mohammed A., 36, who arrived in the Canary Islands three months ago in understandable Spanish. He resides at Colegio León, in El Lasso, where he assures that there is relative calm. “We are really suffering, our relatives do not have money and this is noticeable in the end in the coexistence”, sentence at the entrance door of the enclosure.

“There are tensions every day,” says the Senegalese Mammadou, who lives in the center of El Matorral (Fuerteventura), via WhatsApp. “They have locked us up in an old factory, and we haven’t even seen the sun,” he explains, but there is no tension between us because the struggle is not between immigrants. “

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