Makkah police rounded up at least 500 African illegals who had gathered early Monday morning with their families under Al-Masour bridge, seeking repatriation following government crackdown on illegal foreign workers.
Authorities said that the illegals, on reaching the famous street, blocked the roads with rocks, iron rods, tires and debris to make space for themselves.
Police rushed to the scene to maintain peace and ease traffic congestion, Col. Abdulmohsin Al-Maiman, spokesman of the Makkah police, told Arab News. The illegals then cleared the way and were cooperative when taken in buses to the deportation center in preparation for their final exit, he said.Normal flow of traffic was restored in just 45 minutes, Al-Maiman said.
“When trapped motorists failed to talk the illegal Africans out of blocking the road, they tried to engage with them to forcefully open the road just before the arrival of police,” an eyewitness said. However, they were seen opening the road for fire trucks as shown in a video posted on YouTube. Quick police intervention prevented any potential scope for rioting, Al-Maiman said, adding: “No injuries were reported.”
Videos posted online from the scene on Monday showed clearly that the illegal crowd was outnumbered by the onlookers and passersby, he said.
— With input from Md Al-Sulami