The Latest: Migrant dies in clash at border bridge
TAPANATEPEC, Mexico (AP) — The latest on the caravan of Central American migrants making their way through southern Mexico (all times local):
A 26-year-old Honduran migrant has died of a head wound after a group of migrants clashed with Guatemalan and Mexican police on a border bridge between the two countries.
Guatemalan volunteer firefighters said they tried to treat the man Sunday but the injury apparently from a rubber bullet was too severe.
The Honduran migrants broke down the metal gates at the Guatemalan and Mexican border stations at the Suchiate River after authorities in both countries closed them. Firefighters said dozens of people were hurt.
Mexican Interior Secretary Alfonso Navarrete says his country’s police were not carrying guns, not even to fire rubber bullets. He says federal police were attacked with “stones, firecrackers, glass bottles and glass bottles,” and some of the aggressors were carrying firearms and gasoline bombs.
Navarrete said Mexico was in communication with Central American governments about the disturbances and “rejects the displays of violence that occurred today at the border with Guatemala.”
More than a hundred Central American migrants have forced their way through a customs gate at the Guatemalan border town of Tecun Uman to request passage into Mexico.
A Mexican official said Sunday that the group is seeking entry via Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico.
Video from the Guatemalan newspaper Prensa Libre showed men arguing with Mexican immigration officials through the metal bars of a gate separating the two countries.
Mexican immigration officials in the video urge the men to bring families to the front of the line and present their requests for transit in an orderly manner.
Cesar Quinonez is a volunteer firefighter in Tecun Uman and he told The Associated Press by phone that several Guatemalan police officers and migrants were injured as the group kicked and pushed its way through the gate on the Guatemalan side of the border. He says several people received medical treatment for exposure to tear gas fired by police.
A larger group of thousands of Central American migrants has been winding its way through southern Mexico with the goal of reaching the U.S. border. Mexico has offered them asylum if they remain in the southern states of Chiapas and Oaxaca.
Another group of Central American migrants is setting out in a caravan in hopes that the strength of numbers will help them reach the United States.
About 300 Salvadorans departed Sunday from the Plaza El Salvador del Mundo in the capital of San Salvador. The group organized via Facebook, emulating several other recent caravans that have come together to help migrants with scant financial resources make the trip without paying hefty fees to human traffickers.
It’s unclear who organized the new group.
The group must travel about 75 miles (120 kilometers) to reach the border with Guatemala and another 185 miles (300 kilometers) to reach Mexico’s southernmost border.
A caravan of thousands of Central American migrants is currently making its way through southern Mexico, however Mexican authorities said Friday they had prevented a separate, smaller group from advancing.
A local official in southern Mexico says a disturbance broke out at the encampment of Central American migrants trying to make their way through southern Mexico toward the U.S.
Municipal security chief Raul Medina Melendez in the town of Tapanatepec says that some in the crowd grew upset when a man with a megaphone urged them to line up and wait their turn for sandwiches and water the town was distributing late Saturday.
He says some began to attack him and he fled down a street. A false rumor spread that the man had grabbed a child for protection from the attackers.
The assailants caught and beat him, but police intervened and he was treated at a hospital.
As Sunday dawned, several in the crowd took to a microphone to chide their colleagues for the attack and urge better behavior.
The group of roughly 4,000 people has decided to rest for the day in the town, which itself has a population of only about 7,500.