By Giles Brown
GIBRALTARIANS are ready to fight to protect their 300 years of independence from Spain.
A number of patriotic groups this week swore their allegiance to the British flag and voiced their indignation that the overseas territory had once again been violated following bullets being fired at a jet skier by Spanish police.
Both the local UKIP party, which set up just two months ago in Gibraltar, and a group that goes by the name The Defenders of Gibraltar, insist they are prepared to fight against this ‘aggression’.
Insisting the time for talking is over, they claim that Spain has for too long bullied and usurped them with no justification.
They insist this mirrors the growing anger of the ordinary Gibraltarian on the streets today after Dale Villa, 32, was shot at four times while riding his wet bike off Gibraltar on Sunday.
The group has now called for ‘real warriors to defend Gibraltar’ at all costs.
“This is happening more and more and more,” insisted Defenders of Gibraltar chairman Gareth Gingell. “The Guardia Civil are acting in a crazy manner and this is totally over the top,”
The former serviceman, 26, insists his group has been warning the authorities that something like the shooting incident was inevitable, since his group set up last year.
“Members of the Defenders of Gibraltar have been working tirelessly to bring attention to the oppression and harassment of British citizens, by the Spanish Paramilitary, in British Gibraltar Territorial Waters for well over a year.
“We have been warning that it was only a matter of time before the Guardia Civil became more brazen in their illegal incursions.
“It comes as thanks to the apparent UK inaction and apathy, and unfortunately that day has now come.”
He added that even on Wednesday, the day after the story broke, patrols of Guardia Civil boats were being aggressive and there was a tense stand off developing between the Royal Navy and the Spanish police.
“Yesterday’s incursion into Gibraltar, just days after the shooting, just goes to show that it really doesn’t matter to the Guardia Civil.”
He insists the mood today in Gibraltar is one of anger.
“People are really really disenchanted,” said the IT worker. “People on the street are saying this is all the fault of the UK government… they’ve let this happen by letting the Spanish get away with this for so long.
“We are good people. We do not deserve to be harassed by our much larger neighbours simply because we want the same rights as the rest of the world. “Spain’s oppressive tactics against Gibraltar, their attacks against our economy, our sovereignty, our people, need to stop, and they need to stop now.
“The time for just words is over. It’s time to put the words into action before some gets killed!”
UKIP’s Sean Howlett, who recently visited Gibraltar, having set up a branch in the enclave also expressed his anger at the recent attacks.
He said: “These flagrant breaches of international law by Spain such as the the malicious shooting at the jet skier should not go unpunished.
“The British authorities should pursue this with the utmost vigour.
“We are calling for the British Government to demand the arrest and trial of the Guardia Civil officers involved in the incident.”
Meanwhile local British expats living nearby on the Costa del Sol voiced their increasing concern at the developing crisis.
Many of them are already feeling put down by a string of new laws and regulations that appear to be targetting them and they fear that relationships between the Spanish and expats could be approaching breaking point.
One local expat Pauline Olivera, whose husband works in Gibraltar, said: “I am very concerned at this development.