Gibraltar border lines return as tension rises

Gibraltar border lines return as tension rises

GIBRALTAR - Agence France-Presse
Gibraltar border lines return as tension rises

Crowds watch as the frigate HMS Westminster sets sail from Portsmouth. REUTERS photo

Drivers fumed in hours-long lines on Aug. 13 to cross into the tiny British outpost of Gibraltar from Spain as tensions mounted between Madrid and London over the disputed territory.

“At present the incoming queuing time is over three hours. All documents being checked,” the Royal Gibraltar Police said in a Twitter message.

Many people parked their cars on the Spanish side of the border and decided to walk across the border, carrying their luggage or briefcases in their hands to escape the tailback of cars waiting to pass the exhaustive checks imposed by Spanish authorities.

“This has happened to me several times, at least six or seven times” in recent days, said Francis Perez, a 30-year-old unemployed construction worker who waited for an hour and a half to cross the border into Gibraltar with his family.

British warships continue Gibraltar sailings

Meanwhile, the British warship HMS Westminster set sail yesterday on a training exercise that will include a stop at Gibraltar.

The type 23 frigate left Portsmouth naval base on England’s south coast to join nine other Royal Navy vessels heading for the Mediterranean and the Gulf. Defense officials said the training exercise has long been planned and follows similar deployments in 2011 and 2012, but it comes at a time of heightened tensions over Gibraltar.