Tensions Flare as Migrant Caravan Crosses Mexican Border
Thousands of migrants fleeing violence and economic hardship in Honduras arrived at the Guatemalan-Mexican border on Friday, leading to a tense standoff between Mexican riot police and the migrant caravan.
As members of the caravan, estimated to number as many as 4,000 people, crossed an official checkpoint bridge from the city of Tecún Umán, Guatemala, into Mexico, they were met with scores of Mexican riot police.
A tense standoff ensued, with some migrants breaking through the border fence, while others threw shoes and rocks at police. The migrants were forced to retreat when police fired tear gas on the crowd.
Following the clash, a number of migrants jumped into the Suchiate River to attempt to cross the border on rafts, others simply sat on the bridge, and some turned back to Guatemala.
There are reports of several injuries due to the clash, among them migrants, police, and journalists.
After the violence subsided, caravan leaders organized migrants to be processed into Mexico by border officials. By mid-afternoon on Friday, there was a gradual stream of migrants being allowed into Mexico for processing.
Those with valid papers will be allowed to enter and move freely, while others can apply for asylum or refugee status. It is unclear how many migrants will be allowed to enter Mexico or how long they will be held in processing centers, although Mexican officials claim they can be held for up to 45 days.