Gibraltar's government has filed a legal complaint accusing the Spanish far-right party of "creating an atmosphere of hatred" against people in Gibraltar. VOX has advocated returning Gibraltar to Spain.
Gibraltar's government on Wednesday filed a criminal complaint with Spanish prosecutors in Madrid targeting four leaders of the far-right party VOX.
According to the territory's Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo, Vox posted comments on social media that demonstrated a "clear strategy of disparaging the Gibraltarians and our institutions," adding VOX's statements seemed "clearly designed to create an atmosphere of hatred among Spaniards towards Gibraltarians."
VOX members named in the complaint include leader Santiago Abascal and general secretary Javier Ortega Smith.
It is currently unclear as to what penalties the Vox members could incur.
'Leaches and parasites'
Picardo said remarks by VOX's leaders included descriptions of Gibraltar as "a leech" or "a parasite," along with accusing the British territory of holding Spanish workers "hostage" and of being a den of "money launderers" and "criminals."
"It is the language used in the 1930s against the Jews," said Picardo. "We are not going to allow this to happen without being challenged."
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VOX is a fiercely nationalistic party, which became the third-largest party in Spain's parliament in a general election in November. Part of the party's election platform was calling Madrid to push for returning Gibraltar to Spain.
Gibraltar is a small territory on the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula that was ceded from Spain to Britain in 1713, although Spain continues to claim sovereignty over it. Its population is around 30,000.
wmr/rc (AFP, Reuters)