Drivers and pedestrians trying to cross the border into Gibraltar on Wednesday morning found themselves caught up in a protest called by Spanish National Police and Guardia Civil officers who are demanding equal salaries to those earned by the regional police, and for help in dealing with drug and people traffickers. According to a leaflet, this was to have been an 'informative gathering' to raise awareness of the problems, none of which have anything to do with Gibraltar.
However, trouble ensued as some protesters are reported to have shouted insults at people driving Gibraltar-plated cars and to have kicked and scratched their vehicles. In one incident recorded on video, a woman from Gibraltar became involved in a violent altercation.
The Gibraltar government issued a statement saying it believed the protest "may have been hijacked by extremist, right-wing political elements".
The chief minister, Fabian Picardo, said "This demonstration was organised by an association of police officers and was totally unrelated to Gibraltar. It had no place being organised in the vicinity of the frontier. Whilst I always defend an individual's right to peaceful protest, it is absolutely unacceptable that such action should be allowed to get out of hand in the way that it did. Furthermore, I am reliably informed that extremists of the ultra-right wing political party, Vox, were present and active at the demonstration. They were clearly present only to hijack the demo for their own political ends... that cannot be condoned or justified."He went on to say that he did not intend to let this rest and would be taking the matter further.