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Honduran Migrants Met With Tear Gas at Guatemala Border


A Honduran migrant is tended to by Guatemalan soldiers after migrants clashed with them in a bid to cross the border in Vado Hondo, Guatemala, in a quest to eventually reach the United States, Jan. 17, 2021.

Roughly 100 Honduran migrants were met with tear gas and struck by police with batons when they tried to pass through a roadblock on the border with Guatemala.

The group of migrants were part of roughly 2,000 Hondurans who stopped Saturday night behind the roadblock.

The majority stayed behind Sunday morning when the clashes between some members of their group and police began. None of the migrants made it through the roadblock.

Hundreds of migrants later sat in the roadway, refusing to move and attempting to appeal to Guatemalan authorities as fellow Central Americans.

The Associated Press reported that many migrants showed visible injuries from batons after the clash.

At least 9,000 migrants from Honduras had crossed into Guatemala Saturday in a caravan that began one day earlier, hoping to reach the United States in the early days of the new presidential administration.

The Guatemalan government issued a statement Saturday calling on Honduran authorities to "contain the massive departure of its inhabitants, through permanent preventive actions."

Few of the migrants possessed the negative COVID-19 tests Guatemala requires upon entry.

Traveling on foot, the migrants say they are willing to brave a journey of thousands of kilometers through Guatemala and Mexico to reach the U.S., escaping poverty, unemployment, gang and drug violence and natural disasters in their country.

What appears to be the first migrant caravan from a Central America country this year includes women and young children. Coming less than a week before U.S. President-elect Joe Biden takes office, some migrants say they hope that the new administration with be more sympathetic than the Trump administration to their plea for a better life.

Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Mexico have said they are collectively taking security and public health measures because of the COVID-19 pandemic to prevent unauthorized border crossings.

Mexican officials said Thursday, they had discussed migration with Biden’s nominee for national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, and raised “the possibility of implementing a cooperation program for the development of northern Central America and southern Mexico, in response to the economic crisis caused by the pandemic and the recent hurricanes in the region.”

Last month, Honduran authorities stopped a caravan before it reached the Guatemalan border. Last year, other caravans were broken up by Guatemala’s authorities before reaching Mexico.