Guatemala City (AFP) – More than a thousand Honduran migrants broke through a Guatemalan police cordon on the border with Mexico Sunday as they attempted to join a larger caravan of compatriots heading towards the United States, police and rights groups said.
A group of around 1,500 Hondurans were being held back by police from the international bridge that separates the Guatemalan town of Tecun Uman from the Mexican city of Ciudad Hidalgo.
Weight of numbers allowed the Hondurans to break through, but they were then thwarted by a reinforced metal gate blocking them from entering Mexican territory, as Honduran police fired tear gas in an attempt to halt the surge.
Several people showed signs of being affected by the gas but no-one was injured, Guatemalan authorities said.
Guatemala’s human rights ombudsman, Jordan Rodas, called on his country’s authorities in a statement to “protect” the rights of Hondurans during their stay in the country.
Hondurans are fleeing poverty and gang violence in their homeland.
A caravan that left two weeks ago has made its way into Mexico, where the group has swelled to 7,000 mostly Honduran migrants, according to a UN estimate.
The migrants are walking towards the US despite threats from President Donald Trump to employ the military to prevent them from entering.
Mexican television showed a migration officer telling Hondurans behind the metal gate that they needed to follow “legal procedures” to enter the country in a “calm and safe way”.
Mexican authorities reiterated on Sunday that Honduran migrants would be allowed to enter as refugees.
At least 60 migrants have already done so from the group stranded at the border.