|by Leo Olivero
There is growing concern amongst many locals regarding the increase in the number of local vehicles that have been the target of criminal damage in Spanish regional localities.
Over the weekend Panorama was informed of a number of incidents involving damage to local cars. In one of them, the owner of a local vehicle travelled to Seville on Friday evening to attend a rock concert, when the owner returned ‘some of the car windows of my vehicle had been smashed’.
Yesterday morning another concerned person came to our offices and also informed that a family member had his ‘car deliberately (damaged) scratched’ when it was left parked in the Leroy Merlin (Los Barrios) car park. This person was adamant that he would not take his family over to Spain during the present climate, as he thought it was too risky!
We were also informed by reliable sources of another incident on Saturday/Sunday night, in fact the evening when the Spanish national football team played their Euro 2012 quarter final match with France which Spain won, when at least ‘a dozen returning locals at the frontier reported that their vehicles number registration plates had been painted with the Spanish national red/yellow colour’ this was done by painting red alongside the already yellow background on local rear number plate.
Another incident involving another local vehicles was reported at the ‘Primark’ car park in Algeciras where the the Spanish national colours were also painted on the car in question.
RGP CONFIRM DAMAGES
Panorama contacted the Royal Gibraltar Police and a spokesman confirmed that at least three people had reported to the RGP the Spanish colours registration paint incidents, owners were advised to report the damage to the Spanish authorities.
The police also added that they do not keep records of such incidents when they occur in Spain, obviously not being in the local jurisdiction. However RGP spokesman added they were aware of other similar incidents (damage) to locals over the frontier.
There are quite a few local drivers who have also complained that locally registered cars also appear to be the target of the ‘guardia civil traffic division’ and were a number of Gibraltar drivers have been stopped and reported by the guardia civil for ‘innocuous or border line traffic infringements’ and asked to pay on the spot fines.
All these incidents also come fast after the alleged incident at the frontier a few weeks ago where Chairman of Equality Rights group (GGR), Felix Alvarez, was allegedly and aggressively assaulted by a guardia civil officer, this whilst Mr. Alvarez was crossing the frontier. In fact an official complaint by Mr. Alvarez has already been filed with the Spanish Courts.
In my personal opinion it can hardly be surprising that all these disturbing incidents over in Spain are now becoming more prominent and frequent. Even though the nature of the damages known are not really of a serious nature.
However the fact that these incidents are happening at all must be a testament how fanatical and patriotic sentiments have been whipped up over there by the Spanish Government during its on-going anti-Gibraltar Campaign.
Similarly, the Spanish Government’s current aggressive stand over Gibraltar has also heavily contributed to anti-Spanish feelings having resurfaced in Gibraltar. There have even been calls from both sides of the fence for the frontier to be closed. But anyone who knows anything about modern day European politics and understanding would also know, that barring an act of war or some other calamitous event it is doubtful Gibraltar’s Frontier with Spain will ever close again!
Although the whole issue really is about the atmosphere that has been created by the Spanish government’s non-stop false rhetoric against Gibraltar it has created a very negative atmosphere amongst the communities on both sides of the frontier, a scenario in fact that from that side of the frontier shows no sign of abating!
Yet it’s true to say, that even when frontier relations are what you can call normal, if that is possible, good neighbourly relations are difficult at the best of times, because as many know, there will always be people (particularly from the Spanish side) who are against having a normal frontier situation or any harmonious and sustained relationship.
Although I do find it totally unEuropean and certainly not in any spirit contained in the Human Rights Act that in this day-and-age, many people in Gibraltar should feel either afraid, intimidated, troubled or concerned about crossing the Frontier into Spain.
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