Mexico City, Jan 21 (IANS) Thousands of Central Americans in a migrant caravan have reached the border between Guatemala and Mexico.
Personnel from the Mexican National Guard, the national defence secretary (Sedena) and the national migration institute (INM) were on Monday deployed to the Rodolfo Robles bridge connecting Tecun Uman in Guatemala with the Chiapas state, reports Efe news.
Around 5,000 migrants arrived at the frontier, which was closed by Mexican authorities.
Once there, representatives from the caravan delivered a message to authorities seeking permission from Mexican President Andres Manuel López Obrador for free passage through the country.
“We are going to wait for the Mexican government to send representations in the next three hours that we are here. That’s how we will start the dialogue, because this is a dialogue,” a representative of the ‘Migrant Caravan 2020: God is Love’ said.
Some in the caravan, which comprised mainly of Hondurans, but also numerous people from El Salvador, Nicaragua and Guatemala, chanted “Viva Mexico”.
“We are migrants, not criminals. We are international workers,” were some of the slogans heard as the crowd gathered at the border crossing.
There were tensions between migrants and the National Guard on January 18 as security officials sprayed tear gas to stop a number of people pushing through the border.
Although Lopez Obrador has said he would offer up to 4,000 jobs to foreign workers in the south of Mexico, caravan representatives were wary the offer could lead to them being deported.
Border officials had been expecting the caravan to arrive on Sunday, but the migrant train decided to postpone proceedings to swell in numbers from 2,500 to 5,000.
The caravan left in the direction of the Guatemalan border on January 15.
In 2018, thousands of people entered Mexico to flee poverty and violence in their home countries.
Most intended to reach US territory, prompting tensions between Washington and Mexico City.
In June 2019, the US agreed not to go ahead with sanctions if Mexico agreed to deploy the National Guard to its southern border area.