Gibraltar on Wednesday accused Spain of causing long traffic jams by tightening border controls, saying it was “clearly a response” to rising political tensions over the British territory.
As Gibraltar emerges as a sore point in Britain’s exit negotiations with the European Union, deputy chief minister Joseph Garcia complained of traffic tie-ups on Wednesday on the border with Spain.
“The latest action of Spain is obviously and clearly a response to the latest political climate,” Garcia told broadcaster GBC. “It is what they’ve always done but certainly it is totally and absolutely unacceptable.”
He added: “We have been told that the police officers deployed at the border, the Policía Nacional, are not the ones that are here normally. They don’t quite understand how they need to conduct the checks at the border.”
Police in the territory known as the Rock, which is home to 32,000 people, tweeted: “All those driving toward Spain should expect long delays.” Gibraltar’s government earlier posted on Twitter that vehicles faced two-hour lines to cross into Spain.
Neither Spain’s interior ministry nor the national police responded to AFP’s requests to confirm that border measures had been tightened.
About 10,000 people cross from Spain to Gibraltar to work every day, with the outcrop dependent on the small land border for trade and tourism.
“Spain has used traffic jams as a political weapon against Gibraltar since the day the border opened,” Garcia said. He noted that there were similar scenes at the frontier in 2013 when, in the midst of a diplomatic row, Madrid doubled its border controls until the European…
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