Guatemalan security forces used batons and tear gas to push back a large caravan of migrants bound for the United States.
Much of the caravan clashed Sunday morning with Guatemalan security officials, some 3,000 of whom had gathered near the village of Vado Hondo, 55 km from the borders of Honduras and El Salvador.
“We want the Guatemalans to let us pass,” said Joaquin Ortiz, a Honduran in the caravan. “Because we’re not leaving here. We will continue. I want to pass because it’s horrible in our country. There is nothing in Honduras.
Between 7,000 and 8,000 migrants, including families with young children, have entered Guatemala since Friday, officials said, fleeing poverty and violence in a region hit by the coronavirus pandemic and consecutive hurricanes last November.
The large contingent of Guatemalan security guards managed to prevent the caravan from advancing beyond Vado Hondo, with the people of the caravan dispersing into the nearby hills or resuming their journey.
“The message from Guatemala is loud and clear: these types of illegal mass movements [of people] will not be accepted, which is why we are working with neighboring countries to treat this problem as a regional problem, ”said the office of the Guatemalan president.
Even as the caravan passes, Mexico is preparing hundreds of security forces to stop them at its southern border, arguing it must contain the spread of the coronavirus.
The pandemic has hit the economy of Honduras, which suffered its worst contraction on record last year.