At the border of Behobia, in the Spanish Basque city of Irun, March 31, 2021. ANDER GILLENEA / AFP
Extra days off against caught migrants. The Basque town of Irun, on the border with France, was shaken by the curious directive drawn up by a chief inspector of the Spanish border police for his subordinates. This device was designed for a city of 60,000 inhabitants where many migrants pass through, mainly from Africa, and who try to cross into France via the twin town of Hendaye.
The chief inspector of the local foreigners and borders brigade had drawn up a scale of rewards for his agents, depending on the number of migrant arrests they made. This officer had devised bounties to catch migrants. His men were offered days off according to a precise scale: two days if the policeman had participated in the search and arrest of migrants trying to cross to the French side, three days for an arrested migrant, four if more than two people were taken and five for more than ten without papers caught.
This system was to come into force on July 1. But this scale and its very principle have been denounced by agents themselves. Bringing together civil servants from the province of San Sebastian, the police union Jupol Gipuzkoa detailed this scale on social networks, triggering indignation and anger in this territory and beyond. Thus, the migrant support group “Irungo Harrera Sarea” denounced a “incredible measure” which calls for sanctions.
The hierarchy initially denied, then opened an investigation. The delegate of the Spanish government (the equivalent of the prefect) in the Basque autonomous community, Denis Itxaso, spoke of“an absurd error that was taken into account. » And the columnist for the local daily DeiaJavier Vizcaino, lambasted “a striped police light in Irun who distilled an incitement to productivity that oozes rancid racism”.
In the end, the command of the Spanish national police in Euskadi canceled the planned device and the general direction of this police and launched a disciplinary procedure against the chief inspector of Irun. But, from a border police source, it is noted that the number of migrants arrested in the Bidassoa sector is lower than that recorded at the other end of the Pyrenees, on the side of Catalonia.
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On the Basque side, several Africans died trying to swim across the river, while others perished after touching the French bank, such as three of them passed under the wheels of a regional train near Saint- Jean-de-Luz. A fourth, the only survivor, the families of the deceased and three migrant support associations filed a complaint with civil action on Thursday, June 15. The file is in the hands of the senior investigating judge of the Bayonne court.