The Moroccan consulate in Almeria calls on Moroccans in the province to exercise caution and civility

Las autoridades llaman a la calma antes del partido España-Marruecos

photo_camera REUTERS/JIHED ABIDELLAOUI - Aficionados marroquíes en Casablanca celebran tras el partido de la Copa del Mundo entre Canadá-Marruecos

Spain and Morocco will hold their breath together for the 90 minutes of the Qatar World Cup round of 16 match between the two teams. After reports of disturbances linked to Moroccan fans from Belgium and the Netherlands, the Spanish and Moroccan authorities have calmed down and are preparing a special arrangement. 

In Almeria, the Moroccan consulate in the province issued a statement this weekend calling for caution and respect, regardless of the outcome of the match. 

The Centro de Imanes de Almería, a local association, also called in a communiqué for sanity to prevail and for there to be no repetition of the images of riots, fights and looting that took place in Brussels. "The Spanish fans have the right to support whoever they prefer without provoking the opposing team," reads the statement from the religious association. 

comunicado consulado marruecos

National Police, Guardia Civil and local police forces in municipalities such as Níjar, Vícar and El Ejido confirmed on Monday that they are preparing a special police operation in addition to the round of 16 match. No reinforcements have been requested from other provinces, but agents will be deployed in certain areas of the municipalities once the match comes to an end. 

Almeria has a sizeable population of Moroccan origin, essentially due to its proximity to the Mediterranean coast and the work in the fields offered by the sea of greenhouses. Morocco is the country of origin of most of the foreigners resident in the province, 51.7% in 2021. In the municipality of El Ejido, the percentage rises to 65.1% in 2021, according to data from the Junta de Andalucía. This means 16,700 citizens of Moroccan origin, out of a total population of 84,000. 

REUTERS/PAUL CHILDS - El español Ferran Torres en acción con el japonés Kaoru Mitoma

In the neighbouring municipality of Vícar, there are 3,870 Moroccans, almost half of the total number of inhabitants of foreign origin. This is where the events of El Ejido took place in 2000, when a wave of attacks against the population of Moroccan origin followed the murders of 3 local Spaniards by 2 Moroccan immigrant workers. 

The political party Vox, with a strong message against irregular immigration, has been doing well in El Ejido for years. In the last general and local elections of 2019, it came first and second place respectively. In the 2022 regional elections, it was also the second most voted political force. The party has 7 councillorships in the municipal consortium of this mandate. 

In large cities such as Seville, Valencia or Madrid, groups of ultras linked to Atlético de Madrid, Real Madrid or Real Betis Balompié are organised to respond to possible provocations by Moroccan fans in the street. 

Through various social networks, under a call to "protect the streets", the ultras groups linked to right-wing ideologies aim to "prevent acts of vandalism by Moroccan fans and protect the streets. The motive has come to unite two initially opposing ultras groups, Frente Atlético and Ultras Sur.

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