Joe Garcia
When the biggest demonstration ever against the joint use of the airport was staged

The mayor of La Linea has recently sent a document to the Madrid government citing one of his preferences is the joint use of the Gibraltar airport. This reminds me of the last time that an airport deal was put forward, when Gibraltar went up in arms and there was a major demonstration of opposition to it.

At the time, I was writing for British, American, French and Spanish newspapers. Years earlier I had been approached by Spain's leading daily 'El Pais' to write for them, which I did on condition that there should not be any political editing as may have been the case in some Spanish papers, but I soon found out that there was no unfair interference with my many reports for them putting across the Gibraltarian point of view.

Such was the case with the Anglo-Spanish airport deal, so I have selected some of the reports I wrote for them, reproducing only the headlines, which must have upset to no end the hawks in Madrid and elsewhere.

One of the reports said that 'the whole' of Gibraltar had staged one of the 'most impressive demonstrations' ever in Gibraltar against giving any concessions to Spain.

With chief minister Sir Joshua Hassan and Opposition leader Joe Bossano heading the demonstration, a petition signed by over 15,000 people was handed over to the chief negotiator of the Foreign Office, who happened to be in Gibraltar, who said that the petition would be passed on to the then Foreign Secretary.

The people were flying UK and Gibraltar flags, including banners, one of which said: 'The British sovereignty of Gibraltar is not negotiable.'

Hassan said it was the true feeling of the people of Gibraltar, while Bossano told PANORAMA that there existed no possibility that the Anglo-Spanish deal for the joint use of the airport would be acceptable. The day will come, he added, when the Gibraltar question would not be considered an affront to Spanish dignity.

The demonstration made its way from Casemates to the Convent. The airport deal was not implemented.