Hundreds of migrants broke through the border fence between Morocco and the Spanish exclave of Melilla in North Africa on Friday, with five people reported killed and many more injured in the mayhem.
They forced open one of the gates at the border, the Europa Press news agency reported, citing the police.
Video footage published online showed mostly young men running through the streets, singing and dancing with joy. Some of them were injured when they stormed through the border, which consists of two parallel, 6-metre-high barbed wire fences.
Morocco said five migrants were killed due to a stampede or fall while scaling the fence.
The monarchy’s Interior Ministry said 140 members of the security forces and 76 migrants were also injured, accusing the latter of using violence as they stormed the border.
The previous day, 116 Moroccan officers were injured while trying to keep about 500 migrants away from the border according to Spanish media reports. One police officer had to be treated in the intensive care unit of a hospital.
Two autonomous cities
Morocco became independent from France and Spain in 1956. Nevertheless, Spain still holds two autonomous cities in northern Africa: Melilla and Ceuta, 250 kilometres further west on the Strait of Gibraltar. Both are claimed by Rabat.
Near the two cities, tens of thousands of people, mainly from sub-Saharan Africa, often wait for a chance to enter the EU.
Usually, several hundred people at a time try to surprise the border officials and get across the border en masse.