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Tuesday, 8 February, 2000, 18:40 GMT
Morocco condemns anti-immigrant violence

protest Protesters blocked streets with burning barricades


The Moroccan Government has condemned the recent violence against immigrants in Spain.

The Moroccan Foreign Ministry said "racist acts" were a violation of the friendship between the two countries.

More than 30 people have been injured in a third consecutive day of clashes between police and protesters in the south-eastern Spanish region of Almerida.


smoke Shops and cars went up in flames
In the latest clashes, police trying to clear roadblocks in the town of El Ejido came under attack from the protesters and a factory was set alight.

The violence against North African immigrants erupted on Saturday when a Moroccan man was arrested on suspicion of stabbing to death a Spanish woman in a local market.

The death came two weeks after another Moroccan man was arrested in connection with the stabbing to death of two people.

Racist slogans

In response to the crimes, hundreds of Spaniards marched through the town shouting racist slogans.

Police reinforcements were called in after protesters went on the rampage, burning cars and shops belonging to Moroccans.

'Isolated incidents'

The Moroccan Foreign Ministry said it condemned the killing of the Spanish woman.

But its officials believed such "isolated incidents" should not be used for a revision of Spanish immigration laws.

The Moroccan ambassador to Madrid, Yamal Eddin Mechbal, called on his countrymen "to behave like civilised people, containing your rage and ire" in response to the attacks, according to the Spanish news agency Europa Press.

Change of behaviour

Spanish Foreign Minister Abel Matutes appealed for calm, saying that Spaniards must get used to the influx of North African immigrants attracted by the fast-growing economy.

He told state radio: "We need to reflect on how we need to change our behaviour in a pluralist society that with each day will ... have more immigrants, that each day will need more immigrants to take our country forward."

El Ejido is the centre for fruit and vegetable production on Spain's southern coast - an industry that relies heavily on cheap immigrant labour.

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See also:
08 Feb 00 |  Media reports
Spanish media blame police
08 Feb 00 |  Europe
Mutual fears behind Spain's race riots
03 Oct 99 |  Europe
Spain seeks million foreign workers
07 Feb 00 |  Europe
Spanish town hit by racial violence
16 Jul 99 |  Europe
Anti-immigrant violence flares in Spain
27 Sep 99 |  Africa
Morocco: The great return
04 Oct 99 |  Europe
Call for EU immigration clampdown

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