Between 150 and 200 immigrants sub-saharan, mostly Senegalese, desperately trying to start this Thursday the asylum procedures at the headquarters of the Superior Police Headquarters before the imminent closure of the two hotels in Gran canaria where they were sheltered for months.
From early in the morning, dozens of young Africans queue up at the Higher Police Headquarters to try to start the procedures for applying for international protection or, at least, get them to give them an official appointment to formalize them.
They are accompanied by several volunteers from the citizen platform Somos Red, which claim that the vast majority of them have been housed for months in the Canaima hotels, in Puerto Rico, and Vistaflor, in Maspalomas, south of Gran Canaria, which they will close their doors this Friday waiting to accommodate tourists.
The immigrants have received the information that, in the next few hours, they will be transferred to the Las Raíces and Las Canteras camps, in Tenerife, to which a good part of them do not want to go, due to the news they have received from other colleagues about what the living conditions are like in both, particularly in the former.
“They are very nervous”
“They send the boys to sleep on the ground in the Las Raices field. And, of course, they are very nervous,” says one of the Somos Red volunteers, Olga González, who collaborates with a group of lawyers that tries to help the groups of immigrants.
This group of sub-Saharan Africans maintains that during the entire time they have been in Gran Canaria no one has informed them how to apply for asylum or, at least, they have been delayed, which leaves them in a defenseless situation, “because they do not know how to move around the island” to go to a police station to start the process.
“When Canaima and Vistaflor close tomorrow we will have a lot of people who refuse to be displaced to Tenerife and who will be seen on the street, in Gran Canaria. That is the reality,” says González.
For this reason, dozens of Africans are queuing in front of the Higher Police Headquarters, trying to ensure that as many as possible of them already have the asylum application in their hands, which they believe already represents a certain security for them.
“Once they have it, they can no longer be deported,” recalled this volunteer from Somos Red. has completely overflowed the daily attention span they have police offices.
One of the lawyers who advises this group has recognized Efe that the fact that some of these immigrants already leave the police station with the document that proves that they want to apply for international protection will not stop their transfer to Tenerife.
However, he adds, the objective is that all those who can are not forced to start from scratch again from the Las Raíces camp and expose themselves to a possible repatriation.
In the queue everyone is aware that the rules of operation of the humanitarian reception network stipulate that refusing a transfer implies staying outside the camps, so whoever opposes being taken to Tenerife tomorrow will stay in the street or you will have to find accommodation yourself.