Guatemala cracked down on a caravan of 9,000 Honduran asylum seekers who were bound for the US borders.

Iran PressAmerica: Guatemalan security forces have clashed with hundreds of Honduran migrants and asylum seekers traveling in a caravan bound for the United States.

Police and soldiers, many wearing helmets and wielding shields and sticks, formed ranks on Saturday across a highway in the village of Vado Hondo, Chiquimula, near the Honduras border, to block the procession of migrants, Al Jazeera reported.

Videos distributed by Guatemala’s immigration agency showed a couple of hundred men scuffling with security forces, pushing and running through their lines, even as troops held hundreds more back.

The Hondurans were making their way on foot across Guatemala heading towards Mexico, many of them fleeing violence and economic hardship worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic and recent deadly storms.

Guatemala’s officials said as many as 9,000 migrants and asylum seekers have entered the country since Friday.

About 6,000 pushed past about police and soldiers posted at the border on Friday, most entering without showing the negative coronavirus test that Guatemala requires. An additional 3,000 crossed into the country on Saturday, they said.

Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei issued a statement calling on Honduran authorities “to contain the mass exit of its inhabitants.”

“The government of Guatemala regrets this violation of national sovereignty and calls on the governments of Central America to take measures to avoid putting their inhabitants at risk amid the health emergency due to the pandemic,” he added.

The first migrant caravan of the year is aiming to reach the US, where many hope President-elect Joe Biden will be more welcoming to asylum seekers than President Donald Trump, who oversaw an immigration crackdown.

Biden, who takes office on Wednesday, has promised “a fair and humane immigration system.”


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