THE fight against COVID-19 was likened to the common enemy of fascism in World War Two by Chief Minister Fabian Picardo.
Gibraltar’s charismatic leader gave his Victory in Europe message with the Rock having only four coronavirus cases at the moment.
It was the 75th anniversary of the victory against a harsh regime that led to 11 million people, mainly Jews, dead in concentration camps.
He spoke of the way Gibraltar had been the only ‘free’ place in all of mainland Europe in World War Two.
The Rock acted as a bastion of strength against the racist, homophobic and intolerant ideas that were sweeping throughout Europe.
From here plans were made to retake southern Europe and the Mediterranean.
Picardo remembered that generation of Gibraltarians who fought alongside troops from both Britain and the USA against the Nazis.
Many local people had to go through the ordeal of evacuation to every corner of the globe to escape this menace.
He likened this sacrifice to the way many of the elderly had been forced to stay indoors for over a month to prevent catching the pandemic.
“Now, 75 years on, we are in a battle of our own with the Coronavirus,” said Picardo.
“We may allow ourselves a brief period of rejoicing as we have won the first round against the Coronavirus.
“It will be your continued adherence to public health advice that will deliver to us the final victory against this virus.”
Finally, he reminded us that our current freedom was still being threatened by the same ideas of 75 years ago.
“We can hear today the siren calls of the far right, the heirs apparent to the Nazi message of the 1930’s, seeking to redefine itself in populist extremism across Europe,” he said defiantly.
“We, the Gibraltarians, will never fail to call out those who seek to oppress others.
“And we will never fail to call out any attempt to oppress us or deny us our rights or our freedoms or self-determination.”
Picardo has taken the far-right Spanish party Vox to court and has had connections with the left-wing parties in Spain.
The war-like scenario was heightened after the EU announced it would keep its borders closed until mid-June at least.
However, Gibraltar relaxed its lockdown so that all members of a household can leave together to go shopping, do exercise or take the dog for a walk.
In a show of strength Gibraltar brought 23 British citizens from Morocco this morning on police and port launches.
There were also arrests of four juveniles and an adult male for a string of eight burglaries in Gibraltar last December.