Guatemalan security forces clash with thousands of migrants heading for US border

Guatemalan security forces clash with thousands of migrants heading for US border

A caravan of thousands of migrants clashed on Sunday with Guatemalan authorities while continuing to trek toward the U.S. border, according to reports.

Security forces used sticks to beat back the caravan of migrants, which set out from Honduras ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.

Honduran migrants clash with Guatemalan soldiers in Vado Hondo, Guatemala, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021. Guatemalan authorities estimated that as many as 9,000 Honduran migrants crossed into Guatemala as part of an effort to form a new caravan to reach the U.S. border. (AP Photo/Sandra Sebastian)

Honduran migrants clash with Guatemalan soldiers in Vado Hondo, Guatemala, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021. Guatemalan authorities estimated that as many as 9,000 Honduran migrants crossed into Guatemala as part of an effort to form a new caravan to reach the U.S. border. (AP Photo/Sandra Sebastian)

Estimates range from 6,000 to 8,000 migrants who have entered Guatemala over the weekend. In contrast, only around 3,000 Guatemalan officers mustered to hold up the caravan in the Sunday morning clash, according to Reuters.

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Several people were injured as the caravan attempted to push through the human barricade of security forces. Authorities also deployed tear gas in an attempt to drive back the train of people.

A Honduran migrant is tended to by Guatemalan soldiers after they clashed with them in a bid to reach the U.S. border in Vado Hondo, Guatemala, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021. Guatemalan authorities estimated that as many as 9,000 Honduran migrants crossed into Guatemala as part of an effort to form a new caravan to reach the U.S. border. (AP Photo/Sandra Sebastian)

A Honduran migrant is tended to by Guatemalan soldiers after they clashed with them in a bid to reach the U.S. border in Vado Hondo, Guatemala, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021. Guatemalan authorities estimated that as many as 9,000 Honduran migrants crossed into Guatemala as part of an effort to form a new caravan to reach the U.S. border. (AP Photo/Sandra Sebastian)

Some retreated, going so far as to flee to the nearby mountains, the BBC reported.

“Guatemala’s message is loud and clear: These types of illegal mass movements will not be accepted, that’s why we are working together with the neighboring nations to address this as a regional issue,” the Guatemalan president’s office said of the crisis.

Many believe that the group has been spurred on by Biden’s rhetoric, by which he has promised to end President Donald Trump’s more strict immigration policies.

BIDEN TRANSITION OFFICIAL TELLS MIGRANT CARAVANS: ‘NOW IS NOT THE TIME’ TO COME TO US

But on Sunday, an unnamed Biden transition official said migrants hoping to claim asylum in the U.S. during the first few weeks of the new administration “need to understand they’re not going to be able to come into the United States immediately,” NBC News reports. 

The Biden transition official, however, warned migrants against coming to the U.S. during the early days of the new administration, telling NBC that while “there’s help on the way,” now “is not the time to make the journey.” 

“The situation at the border isn’t going to be transformed overnight,” the official told the outlet.

Mexico has indicated that the caravan will meet increased resistance.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador had promised Trump that he would halt undocumented immigrants, increasing the attention and investment along Mexico’s southern border, according to Bloomberg.

Fox News’ Yael Halon contributed to this report.

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