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The discrimination of a virus

It has already been many days since we started living in this altered normality, and the nervousness of not being able to act as we normally do can already be felt. So many days of confinement have proved the need we have for social contact and freedom of movement. For the first time, borders have been closed without it affecting only the less privileged countries. We have all suffered from the restriction of movements.

However, as much as it has been repeated over and over again that this virus does not understand race, nationality or social class, the reality says quite the opposite.

In the Autonomous City of Melilla, a few weeks after the state of alarm was declared, certain spaces were set up to accommodate both the people who had been trapped without being able to return to Morocco after the border was closed and those who were on the streets of Melilla while trying to reach Europe in search of a better future.

For weeks we have been denouncing the terrible conditions in these spaces, which were never intended to be inhabited: some city fair stalls and bullfighting ring. The minimum effort invested in turning these sites into a dignified place to live during the time of confinement has resulted in collapsed bathrooms, food shortages, flooding due to rain and, above all, the impossibility of maintaining the much needed safety distance.

This is how hundreds of people have been forced to live for months.

The worst thing, however, has been the very explicit discrimination they have suffered with regards to the rest of the Spanish population. Throughout the confinement, we have all been able to go outside to buy basic items, to go to a doctor's appointment or to work. If we needed to buy milk, bread or a medicine or if we simply wanted to buy tobacco we could go out and buy it.

This right has been denied to all the people trapped in the spaces of V Pino and Plaza de Toros in Melilla. They have not been able to get out at all during the time of confinement, being locked up in places where they had absolutely nothing to pass the time with.

When the restrictions on movement began to be lifted and we were all able to go out for a walk on May 4, this still did not affect the forced confinement that these people were suffering in Melilla. Until a few days ago, they continued to be locked up, without even the possibility of going out for a walk, buying basic products or enjoying any of the other rights that those of us who were not in their situation enjoyed.

As much as everyone insists on this virus knowing no race, nationality or social status, discrimination can still be seen in every decision. We will keep on denouncing and fighting to give a voice to those who suffer from constant discrimination for seeking a better life.

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