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Tenerife: Migrants demand travel authorization to the mainland | Free press

More and more migrants from Africa are opting for the dangerous escape route to the Canary Islands. But the situation in the refugee camps on the islands is difficult and anger among migrants and the population is growing.

San Cristobal de la Laguna / Tenerife (dpa) – About 1,200 migrants and local supporters demonstrated on the Canary Island of Tenerife, which belongs to Spain, for permission to travel to mainland Spain.

People from Africa living in camps in the town of San Cristobal de la Laguna in the north of the island called for ‘freedom’ in chants, the Canarias7 television channel reported Saturday. The station quoted participants in the meeting as saying that conditions in the refugee camps were unbearable.

However, the Spanish government rejects this and only wants to move migrants in need of special care from the camps on the islands to better accommodation on the mainland. The situation is very difficult for the thousands of migrants on the islands and is also provoking anger among the local population, wrote the newspaper “El País”.

The number of people who dare to make the dangerous crossing from Africa across the Atlantic to the Canary Islands has risen sharply in the past year. According to the UN refugee agency UNHCR, as many as 23,000 migrants reached the archipelago off the west coast of North Africa in 2020.

The trend continued this year as well. Since the beginning of the year, more than 2,300 people have arrived on the islands in small wooden boats. It is not known how many people died at sea. The UNHCR estimates that more than 400 people were killed last year.

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