Spain: Racism in policing: the experience of Moroccan car enthusiasts' club members on their trip to Spain

Guardia Civil of Guadix, Granada: unleashed rabid dogs!

The members of the Casablanca GT Club won't set foot in Spain again for quite a while, faced with the fierce way they were welcomed by the Guardia Civil, who lived up to their bad reputation. It was 8 p.m. on November 20th, when a group of car enthusiasts approached Granada (Andalusia), a few kilometers from the Guadix race track they had to reach for a motor-racing event.

The convoy, composed of fifteen cars bearing the stickers "Guadix Circuit" and driven by respectable Moroccan citizens, including opinion leaders and buisnessmen, was suddenly surrounded by twenty or so officers of the Guardia Civil, armed with fluorescent batons. Howls and insults burst out in Spanish (that most of the "suspects" do not understand), car keys were snatched, drivers manhandled and papers confiscated. Then followed forcible body searches, punctuated with "shut up, you bunch of criminals!" as the members of the club tried to sort it out. Bags were emptied out, bank notes scrutinized one by one. As they did not find anything compromising, the policemen got excited, getting more violent with the drivers.

After 45 minutes, during which the highway was closed, the police officers had to face the facts:

our drivers are neither terrorists, nor drug traffickers. In a gesture of disappointment, they dismissed them with a "clear off!" and without a shadow of apology.

Our drivers' mistake? Driving vehicles with Moroccan license plates. No charges of infringement of the Highway Code have been brought against them, as no motorist was given a ticket. Yet the fact remains that they were considered as dangerous suspects: after an enchanting stay in Guadix, thanks to the kindness of the English race track owner, Clive Greenhalgh, they were pleased to be escorted to the boundaries of Granada on Sunday November 23rd. One might easily imagine what the reaction of Spanish tourists would be if our Gendarmerie Royale, whose courtesy is exemplary, behaved that way. One might also imagine what the Guardia Civil inflicts on the "haragas" (boat people)...

Contact: Rafik LAHLOU KAMAL
Co-founder of Casablanca GT Club


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