The spat between Spain and Britain over Gibraltar intensified on Sunday with the arrival of the Royal Navy at the Rock, and a demonstration by Spanish fishermen in the bay that straddles the frontier between Gibraltar and Spain.
The wealthy enclave, population 30,000, has been under virtual siege for the past week as Spanish customs officials have performed exhaustive checks on all traffic at the frontier just north of the airport runway, creating long queues of traffic.
It was prompted by the Gibraltar authorities sinking concrete blocks into the bay as an artificial reef to preserve marine life, but the fishermen complain it prevents them using drag nets.
“We just want respect, that we will be respected, and let’s stop doing foolish things,” said one woman.
“We are losing a whole bay full of seafood. That’s where we all used to fish, and now it’s full of blocks, so that we can’t fish any more,” said one boat owner.
Britain has called for EU inspectors to verify if the border checks are in contravention of EU law, while the Spanish are preparing legal proceedings of their own.