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African Migrants Scale Barbed Wire to Reach Europe

Sub-Saharan immigrants, some of them wounded after climbing a fence, stand inside a temporary camp set up for immigrants who gained access to the Spanish enclave of Melilla on March 19.

Tens of thousands of migrants try to force their way every year into Europe along half a dozen routes, but nowhere is this constant struggle more dramatic than the seaside Spanish enclaves of Melilla and Ceuta, which offer the only land route between the world’s richest and poorest continents. Nearly every week hundreds of migrants creep down from mountain camps to throw themselves through Moroccan police and clamber over three barbed-wire laced fences. Here, immigration has become an Olympic event.

-- The Associated Press

Santi Palacios / AP

Sub-Saharan migrants sit atop the 20-foot fence dividing Europe from Africa at Melilla on April 3, refusing to come down. Buffeted by the chilly winds whipping along the epic cliffs of Africa’s Mediterranean coast, some 27 men sat on the fence for more than seven hours, nursing their bloody feet and pleading in broken French for assistance from the Red Cross.

Santi Palacios / AP

A sub-Saharan migrant is helped by Spanish officers after he fainted on top of a metallic fence that divides Morocco and the Spanish enclave of Melilla on April 3. For more than seven hours, some 27 migrants sat atop the 20-foot fence.

Santi Palacios / AP

A migrant with a bloody foot sits atop the metallic fence that divides Morocco and the Spanish enclave of Melilla on April 3.

Santi Palacios / AP

A sub-Saharan migrant walks inside a Temporary Center for Immigrants (CETI) at the Spanish enclave of Melilla.

Santi Palacios / AP

Jackie, 25, from the Central African Republic, who arrived in Melilla in early February, sits in front of the Temporary Center for Immigrants (CETI) where he resides on March 31.

Santi Palacios / AP

Sub-Saharan migrants scale the fence that divides Morocco and the Spanish enclave of Melilla on March 28.

Santi Palacios / AP