By Steve Dellar   |  06-18-2018   News
Photo credit: Twitter | @elpais

The Spanish minority leftwing government of Socialist Prime Minister Mr Pedro Sánchez tried to garner public sympathy for its cause last week in accepting the migrant boat that both Italy and Malta had turned away, and thus said to the captain of the Aquarius that the 629 illegal immigrants from Africa would be welcome in the port city of Valencia.

However, Mr Sánchez might have overestimated the national mood a bit as it turns out. As the Aquarius arrived in Valencia, small groups of protesters carrying banners stating “No Queremos Refugados” (we don’t want refugees) and waving Spanish flags showed up. Any sign of large crowds welcoming the refugees (which Mr Sanchez had silently hoped to garner) were nowhere to be seen.

Related coverage:

The socialist government sent a Spanish warship and a Coast Guard vessel to accompany the dangerously overloaded Aquarius, something which was widely mocked by the Spanish population on social media.

Though most Spaniards are largely sympathetic to the plight of the refugees, given that their Iberian country is pulling itself up after years economic hardship, most don’t understand why money is being splashed out on refugees at this point.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Signs of &#39;we don&#39;t want refugees&#39; and shouts of &#39;viva España&#39; as a few dozen people protest at Valencia harbour ahead of the arrival of <a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Aquarius</a> tomorrow morning <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Ruairi Casey (@Ruairi_Casey) <a href="">June 16, 2018</a></blockquote>

<script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script>

Their newly formed minority government, which has offered the African refugees medical aid and possible temporary asylum, might have wanted to take a better look before deciding upon such action. According to unofficial newspaper site surveys, some two-thirds of Spanish citizens are opposed to Mr Sanchez’s actions.

Related coverage:

A taxi driver taking journalists to the port stated: “It’s one thing to be generous if your country is doing well.”

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Migrants leave the Aquarius upon docking in Valencia port <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Ruptly (@Ruptly) <a href="">June 18, 2018</a></blockquote>

<script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script>

Photographer Ms Laura Silleras, who has worked with refugees in Spain and was at Valencia port on assignment admitted: “People get stuck here.”

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GME</a> | After a gruelling, week-long journey across the Mediterranean, the 629 men, women and children rescued by the Aquarius have docked in Valencia. <a href="