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While Europe is sealing off, Barcelona is taking on shipwrecked migrants. The arrival of the 34; open arms 34; celebrates the city as a signal against EU refugee policy.

Barcelona: Here you are welcome

While Europe is sealing off, Barcelona is taking on shipwrecked migrants. The arrival of the 34; open arms 34; celebrates the city as a signal against EU refugee policy.

Barcelona: Here you are welcome
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  • Page 1 — Here you are welcome
  • Page 2 — "The EU states behave like bodyguards in a nightclub"
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    When skyline of Barcelona is seen early in morning, Tagnabou jumps up Elvis, claps his hands and sings in English: "I am happy to be able to live in Barcelona." The man with short ponytail is one of 60 people who has taken rescue ship of Spanish organization Open arms off Libyan coast and who can now apply for asylum within 30 days in Spain or continue to travel – similar to Refugees of Aquarius in June.

    Tagnabou Elvis ' story is known even before ship escorted by Coast Guard docks at port. He has told her fellow journalists of Spanish media, her drama makes man from Burkina Faso a symbolic figure. As a Catholic, he had fled desert before jihadists, had been abducted to Libya and spent a year and ten months in a dungeon. The men who held him re would have tortured him daily to blackmail money from his family. A large scar on shoulder and on head witnessed by strokes.

    At some point he managed to escape and he paid tugs for crossing to Europe. 33 nautical miles off Libyan coast, refugees sighted red-white rescue ship of open arms. "If Libyan coastguard had picked us up, I would have jumped into water," says Tagnabou Elvis. According to open arms, many of refugees were abused in Libya.

    Immigration to Spain increased

    At port of Barcelona, 70 employees of Red Cross expect rescued on this Wednesday. Against backdrop of cruise steamer MSC Fantasia with its 18 decks, red-white boat from open arms takes off like a nut shell. Eleven of refugees are treated on site because of minor injuries, burns due to mixture of salt water, sun and machine oil. A man is admitted to a psychosocial center because of traumaähnlichen symptoms. Orwise, re is little to do, state of health of passengers is predominantly good. "On open arms, se people were cared for almost throughout entire journey," says Inigo Vila of Red Cross. "In rescue operations on Andalusian coast, we often know almost nothing about condition of occupants."

    Immigration to Spain has risen since 2017. At that time, Red Cross provided 25,000 people who tried to reach Iberian Peninsula over sea. This year re were already 16,451 people, in June alone more than 4,800. The boats no longer control, as in 2000s, especially Canary Islands, but mainly Cádiz and Almería directly on mainland coast of Spain. This year alone, about 1,000 people drowned on se cruises. Inigo Vila from Red Cross sums it up: "What we are experiencing re is a drama."

    A helper of ship says goodbye to one of rescued children. © Olmo Calvo/AP/DPA

    With telephoto lens, a couple of photographers are trying to get pictures of people rising from board, TV reporters are preparing for ir live circuits. The media interest is no longer quite as formidable as arrival of Aquarius, when every one of refugees was about a journalist, but still great. Also because Barcelona has tried to profile itself as a refugee-friendly city since inauguration of Mayor Ada Colau. The arrival of open-arm boat is a transparent one in front of town hall with inscription "Barcelona – a safe haven".

    The leftist alternative politician has already established 2015 an urban refugee network. On ir initiative, it is also due to fact that 60 shipwrecked now does not, as Spanish government is considering, come into controversial closed internment homes for undocumented migrants, but in urban and regional institutions : The almost 50 men in an athlete's residence, five women – two with children – in a women's house, three minors without accompaniment come into care of Catalan regional government.

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