Moroccan migrants arrested after going on rampage in SEF detention centre

Eleven of the Morrocan ‘migrants’ awaiting deportation after entering Portugal illegally were arrested yesterday after going on the rampage in a SEF detention centre.

The young men – part of the boat-load of 22 that alighted on a Loulé beach in the Algarve in June – were outraged by the judicial decision that obliges them to spend another 30 days in SEF’s CIT (Centro de Instalação Temporária) at Porto’s Francisco Sá Carneiro airport.

They heard back in July that they were to be sent back to their home country (click here), but for some reason the deportation has been taking its time.
Says Jornal de Notícias, these 11 “have caused various problems” since being placed in the CIT in Porto.

“On July 4, three of them managed to escape, leaving the installations of the airport”. They were however seen walking on the ‘Via Regional Interior’ by PSP agents and returned to the CIT.

The nine that remain in a CIT in Faro have not caused as many problems as the 11 in Porto.

Readers however may realise that 9 and 11 do not make 22. This suggests two of the migrants have escaped and remain unapprehended.

JN described the damages caused in yesterday’s protest as “broken chairs, tables and even walls”.

In the midst of the fracas, the men “attacked another foreign citizen who was also in detention.

“The violence used by the group obliged the PSP to action its Intervention Corp which handcuffed the protestors.

“The migrants were then arrested by SEF inspectors and will be appearing in court to hear what measures will be taken against them”, says the paper.

The issue of Moroccan migrants alighting in the Algarve came to light late last year since which time around 76 young men in total have been taken into SEF’s custody, a number of which in the earlier incidents, managed to elude authorities and ‘go their own way’ (possibly leaving Portugal for northern Europe (click here).

This has caused Portugal some embarrassment with its European partners, hence possibly why authorities now are taking pains to hold onto the migrants still in detention.

Minister for Interior Administration Eduardo Cabrita has nonetheless stressed that Portugal is working towards the opening up of a legal route for migration from Morocco. It is the agreement over how this would work that is lacking.

UPDATE: The men were remanded to preventive custody in Linhó jail where they continued to mount protests (click here)

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com