Spain approves law to expel north African migrants and fine protesters in Ceuta and Melilla

Africans attempt to scale the border fence between Morocco and the Spanish enclave of Melilla.

Spain’s lower house of parliament approved legislation on Thursday that allows for the summary expulsion of migrants entering the country’s north African enclaves illegally and hefty fines for protests outside parliament buildings or strategic installations.

The Public Security Law, approved in a 181-141 vote, entitles police in Spain’s north African city enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla to hand migrants caught trying to storm border fences back to Moroccan police on the other side of the border.

The law has been heavily criticised by opposition parties and rights groups as an attempt by the conservative government to muzzle protests over its handling of the economic crisis…

…Spanish cities have been the scene of weekly protests, which are mostly peaceful, since the onset of the crisis in 2008.

The bill was passed easily because the conservative Popular party has an absolute majority. Opposition parties have pledged to scrap it if elected to office…