The second migrant caravan, believed to be armed with bombs and guns, crossed into Mexico on Monday despite a huge police presence.
Hundreds of migrants following in the footsteps of the first caravan heading to the U.S. border crossed a river from Guatemala.
A low-flying police helicopter hovered overhead as the migrants waded in large groups through the Suchiate River’s murky waters, apparently trying to use the downdraft from its rotors to discourage them.
Guatemala’s Noti7 channel reported that one man drowned and aired video of a man dragging a seemingly lifeless body from the river.
Once on the Mexican side the migrants were surrounded and escorted by black-uniformed officers as sirens wailed.
The second group back at the Guatemalan frontier has been more unruly than the first that crossed. Guatemala’s Interior Ministry said Guatemalan police officers were injured when the migrant group broke through border barriers on Guatemala’s side of the bridge.
Mexico authorities said migrants attacked its agents with rocks, glass bottles and fireworks when they broke through a gate on the Mexican end but were pushed back, and some allegedly carried guns and firebombs.
On Monday, Mexican Interior Secretary Alfonso Navarrete Prida lamented what he called a second ‘violent attempt’ to storm the border, accusing people of placing the elderly, pregnant women and children at the front, putting them at risk of being crushed.
‘Fortunately, that did not happen,’ he said.
The standoff at the riverbank followed a more violent confrontation that occurred on the bridge over the river Sunday night, when migrants threw rocks and used sticks against Mexico police. One migrant died from a head wound during the clash, but the cause was unclear.
Hundreds of miles up the road in southern Mexico, the first caravan of some 4,000 migrants resumed its advance, still at least 1,000 miles or farther from their goal of reaching the United States as the Pentagon announced it would send 5,200 active-duty troops to ‘harden’ the U.S.-Mexico border. There are already more than 2,000 National Guard troops providing assistance at the border.
The caravan currently has about 4,000 people, but has been dwindling. Earlier this year, only about 200 from a caravan of some 1,000 migrants reached the Tijuana-San Diego frontier.
The Pentagon announcement comes as President Donald Trump has been focusing on the caravan to stir up his base a week before midterm elections. On Monday he tweeted: ‘This is an invasion of our Country and our Military is waiting for you!’