By James Bryce
A group of Spaniards has been kicked out of Gibraltar ‘for their own safety’ after angering patriotic locals celebrating the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
Police escorted the tourists to the border after a 50-strong mob surrounded them, claiming to have been provoked by one of them kissing the badge on his Spanish national football shirt.
A police spokesman compared the provocation to ‘going round Tel Aviv celebrating Hitler’, despite the group, from Sevilla, claiming not to have been aware of political tensions between Spain and the Rock.
“You have to understand the climate between Gibraltar and Spain at the moment, it is not the best, particularly with the fishing dispute,” a spokesman for Royal Gibraltar Police said.
“People are hyper-sensitive at the moment and you can compare it (kissing the badge) to going round Tel Aviv celebrating Hitler.”
The spokesman confirmed that two members of the Spanish group were taken to a police station but no arrests were made.
“It was the Jubilee weekend with Union flags everywhere and everyone in high spirits, but the incident created a tense atmosphere, some people took offence and temper’s flared.
“We explained the situation to them and told them the best thing to do in the circumstances is go back to Spain.
“It would not have been a good idea to stay in Gibraltar. We moved them for their own safety,” he added.
Inmaculada Rueda, her boyfriend Jaime Berjarano and three friends had been killing time in Gibraltar ahead of an evening football match in the nearby Spanish border town of La Linea.
“We were walking down Main St and we saw a man with two parrots, one on each shoulder.
“Jaime placed himself to have his photo taken, and it was then he kissed the shirt,” Rueda said.
“People were shouting ‘go back to your own country’ and we felt physically threatened, it was shameful.
“I’ll never go back to Gibraltar.”
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