GIBRALTAR - AUGUST 18: A Spanish fishing boat sails past houses displaying British and Gibraltar flags near Bleak Beach after a protest by Spanish fishermen in the sea near to the Spain/Gibraltar border on August 18, 2013 in Gibraltar, Gibraltar. Spanish fishermen held a protest over the Gibraltar government's decision to drop concrete blocks in to the sea to create an artificial reef, which they claim has a negative impact on their ability to fish in the area. British Prime Minister David Cameron has urged the European Commission to investigate the increase in Spain's security checks at their border with Gibraltar, claiming that they contravene EU rules on the right of free movement. The Spanish Government claims that the tightened measures are intended to tackle smuggling. British Royal Navy warships are due to stop over in Gibraltar ahead of planned military exercises in the Mediterranean and Gulf. (Photo by Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images)2013 Getty Images
More than 50 Spanish fishermen protested Sunday against the decision by Gibraltar authorities to drop huge blocks of concrete into the ocean near the enclave, a project that they say harms their work and livelihood.
The protest focused attention on the controversy that arose more than three weeks ago between Spain and Britain over Gibraltar.
It comes as the parties wait for the meeting between Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Durao Barroso, which was announced last Friday, the day on which the community leader spoke with British Prime Minister David Cameron, who asked that observers be sent to the border between the British colony and Spain due to the controls the latter has implemented there.
The protest by the Spanish fishermen was conducted without incident, although there was a tense moment when one of the fishermen tried to position himself in the area where Gibraltar authorities placed the concrete blocks on July 24 and July 25 with the aim of creating an artificial reef.
The fishermen say that the blocks, which weigh some 3,000 kilos (3.3 tons) each and have iron bars projecting from them, hinder their fishing activities such that they have lost some 1.5 million euros ($1.9 million) in revenue.
Gibraltar, a territory of 5.5 sq. kilometers (2.1 sq. miles) at the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea, has been held by Britain since 1704 and became a British Crown Colony in 1713 under the Treaty of Utrecht.