Plans to remember 50th anniversary of Gibraltar border closure

  • An exhibition will be held on the Rock to mark the anniversary, and the mayor of La Línea has suggested that a joint event should take place

Next year marks the 50th anniversary of the closure of the land frontier between Spain and Gibraltar on 8 June 1969, the culmination of a series of events by the Franco regime which was designed, but failed, to bring Gibraltar to its knees.

The border remained closed for 13 years, and was reopened as Spain prepared to join the EEC; pedestrians were allowed to cross in December 1982, and it opened fully on 5 February 1985. Many local people still remember the tears of joy as families who had not seen each other for so many years were finally reunited.

The Gibraltar government has decided that it would be fitting to mark the occasion with a series of events, possibly including a joint activity with La Línea council.

Although the final programme has yet to be decided, it has been announced that an exhibition will be held in Gibraltar to mark the event and a booklet will be produced for distribution to schoolchildren. “It is important that the younger generation is fully aware of their history and of the sacrifices made by their forefathers,” said a press release issued by the government this week.

During the recent official visit by chief minister Fabian Picardo to La Línea de la Concepción, the Spanish town the other side of the border, the mayor of La Línea, Juan Franco, proposed that a joint event should be held, possibly a seminar looking at the impact of the closure on either side of the border, or a reception, but nothing has yet beenagreed.