The storm of protest in Spain over Gibraltar Chief Minister Fabian Picardo’s speech to the UN this week showed no sign of letting up with a fresh round of political complaints and even the threat of legal action, according to the Gibraltar Chronicle.
Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, the deputy prime minister of the Spanish Government, said Mr Picardo had displayed “a lack of respect” toward Spain’s law enforcement agencies “and to the people of Spain in general”.
“I think that the statements by the local official from Gibraltar (a reference to Mr Picardo) speak for themselves,” she told reporters at a press conference following the weekly cabinet meeting.
Spain reacted furiously when Mr Picardo used the phrases “police and military invasions” and “shots fired” to illustrate Spanish aggression toward Gibraltar during his address to the UN’s Fourth Committee on Wednesday.
The Spanish Government said it would make a formal diplomatic protest to the British Government and would write formally to the chairman of the Fourth Committee urging him to take “appropriate steps.”
Arsenio Fernández de Mesa, the director general of the Guardia Civil, described the comments as “indecent” and said Spain was exercising “impeccable restraint in the face of provocation from the Rock.”
On Friday two Spanish police unions said they would take legal steps against the Chief Minister following his UN statement. The Confederación Española de Policia said the statements were “insulting and offensive”.
“This chain of false accusations will not go unpunished,” it said in a statement. The sentiment was echoed by the Sindicato Profesional de Policía, which said it too would take legal steps.
It was not clear what avenue of legal action was open to either union or indeed if any such action could prosper.
Mr Picardo held numerous meetings and briefings in the US on either side of his UN speech on Wednesday. On Thursday, when Spanish politicians initially reacted to his statements, the Gibraltar Government issued a series of photographs and links to videos.
These showed damaged Gibraltar-registered vehicles, footage of the incident in which a local jet skier was shot at, and a video showing Spanish school children acting out shooting Gibraltarians in a play.
The Government said this was proof that Spain’s position on Gibraltar was inciting hatred against the people of the Rock. It also complained that Spanish politicians had focused solely on two or three phrases of a much longer speech that spoke about the need for constructive dialogue for the benefit of communities on both side of the border.
The British Government has not commented on the reaction to the Chief Minister’s speech, or on its content. “This was a statement by the Chief Minister of HMGoG who represents the people of Gibraltar,” a spokesman for the Foreign & Commonwealth Office said.