On Monday (18), Guatemalan police dispersed a caravan of immigrants, mostly Hondurans, heading to the United States in the hope of finding a less severe immigration policy under the new government of Joe Biden, which takes its functions in two. days.
The group was camping on a road in the town of Vado Hondo, about 55 km from the borders of Honduras and El Salvador. Riot police advanced on the crowd and used tear gas to disperse them.
As the soldiers watched, the immigrants again boarded buses to bring them back to the border, a video on social media showed.
“We are afraid,” said Rosa Alvarez, a Honduran mother who was at the roadblock just before troops began to evacuate the area. “We just want to move freely in the United States.”
The caravan had left San Pedro Sula, Honduras, early Friday morning (15), with about 8,000 people, according to the government. On Sunday (17), after a confrontation with the security forces who wanted to prevent the group from passing, around 2,000 of them took up residence on the road.
Some people were injured when the troops evicted the crowds, said Andres Gomez, a Guatemalan who was in the caravan. “It’s not a war. It is a caravan with women and children. Soldiers are not allowed to hit anyone.
The Guatemalan government said it had returned more than 1,500 immigrants, most to Honduras, and 100 more to El Salvador.
Honduran immigrants, many of whom have children, say they are building caravans in an attempt to escape violence and poverty in their country, made worse by the coronavirus pandemic.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador warned migrants on Monday not to try to enter countries by force and said he was in contact with the teams of the current US president and the president-elect on the migrant caravan.
Honduran border police chief Julian Hernandez said more than 800 security officials tried to stop the caravan at the border with Guatemala, but the migrants pushed the barrier, some using children “like shields “.
The first migrant caravan of the year takes place just before the inauguration of the new President of the United States, scheduled for January 20. The group said it hoped for a possible easing of immigration policies – a possibility Washington has so far rejected.
“We urge Honduras to assess and strengthen border control measures to prevent future caravans,” said Michael Kozak, deputy secretary of state for Latin America issues.
Since October 2018, more than a dozen caravans, some with thousands of migrants, have left Honduras for the United States.