Hundreds of people gathered in the centre of Algeciras yesterday in a demonstration calling for tougher measures to clamp down on drug trafficking in the area, which many believe is out of control.
The protest brought together politicians from across the political spectrum, law enforcement unions, NGOs and citizens demanding a greater law enforcement presence in the Campo, alongside investment on education and job creation.
It comes just days after the death of a child in a boat collision off Getares beach which, while not directly related to the drugs trade, is being widely viewed as a by-product of a culture of impunity that is generating deep unease in Campo communities.
The sense of insecurity was rammed yesterday home by yet another incident that unfolded in Algeciras even as protestors gathered in the city’s Plaza Alta.
Spanish police attended reports that four men had used guns and knives during a violent stand-off in La Piñera neighbourhood in Algeciras.
Initial reports that a police officer had been shot proved baseless, and official sources in Algeciras said the incident was unrelated to the drugs trade.
But the early reports, fuelled by social media speculation, caused alarm among demonstrators who are angry at their communities being portrayed as a home to drug traffickers.
Yesterday, the message from speakers at the demonstration was one of unity in the face of organised crime.
“We are fighting this to the end and we will win,” said Antonio Sanz, the Spanish Government’s representative in Andalucia.