Spain has long disputed British sovereignty over Gibraltar, despite the fact that the territory was ceded to Britain in perpetuity in 1713 and that the citizens of Gibraltar decisively rejected joint British-Spanish sovereignty over it as recently as 2002.
The current incidents of Spanish aggression centre on Spain's insistence that the Treaty does not cover British Gibraltar Territorial Waters (BTGW). Of late there have been many incursions into BTGW by Spanish vessels and the response of the Royal Navy's Gibraltar Squadron has been lacking in robustness. On 22 July, the Spanish Guardia Civil illegally entered Gibraltarian waters and arrested a Gibraltarian sports fishing boat, imprisoning the crew for a number of hours and confiscating some of their equipment.
The Spanish border police have also imposed long waiting times at the land border between Spain and Gibraltar, causing 4-hour queues. These bullying tactics are nothing new for Spain and have been frequently applied over the past 60 years.
The UK Government must remain stalwart in its defence of British sovereignty and respond robustly to this latest episode of Spanish bullying.
We, the undersigned, take note of;
a) the increasing numbers of illegal incursions into British Gibraltar Territorial Waters (BGTW) by Spanish fishing vessels;
b) the illegal detention by the Spanish Guardia Civil of a Gibraltarian sports fishing boat only 200 metres from the coast of Gibraltar on 22 July 2012, and
c) the imposition of long delays at the border crossing point between Gibraltar and La Linea by the Spanish police.
We urge Her Majesty's Government to take a more robust position in defence of Gibraltar's territorial waters and the rights of Gibraltar's citizens to go about their legitimate business.
These must include immediate measures to detain Spanish fishing vessels in BTGW, with confiscation of their equipment, and the arrest of Spanish police operating illegally in BTGW.
To this end, the Royal Navy's Gibraltar Squadron should be reinforced immediately and sanctions against Spain should be considered.
The In Defence of Gibraltar petition to The Government of the United Kingdom was written by Christopher Alan Smith and is in the category International Affairs at GoPetition.