Guatemalan riot police appear to have - for the time being - halted an enormous USA -bound migrant caravan that previously defeated Honduran police, as soldiers beat back forcibly surging migrants with clubs and tear gas.
Videos seen by Reuters showed Guatemalan security forces clashing with a group of hundreds of migrants who managed to break through a police blockade at the village of Vado Hondo, near Chiquimula in eastern Guatemala. Others fled into nearby mountains.
Many dropped their sparse belongings in their haste to get out of harm's way.
A health official from the region, who did not give their name, said several of the migrants were injured after being struck.
Traveling on foot, the migrants say they are willing to fearless a journey of thousands of kilometers through Guatemala and Mexico to reach the US, escaping poverty, unemployment, gang and drug violence and natural disasters in their country.
As the migrants moved northward in small groups, workers with the International Committee of the Red Cross and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees provided some with assistance.
Ramirez said they left Honduras because staying meant running the risk of only eating every other day.
"They keep trying to pass, but we're not allowing them to", said Alejandra Mena, a spokeswoman for Guatemala's immigration agency.
"We are leaving with a broken heart, because in my case, I leave my family, my husband and my three children behind", 36-year-old Jessenia Ramirez told AFP.
"We want the Guatemalans to let us past", said Joaquin Ortiz, a Honduran in the caravan.
Migration authorities said almost 1,400 people in the caravan had been returned to Honduras by Sunday, including 192 children.
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But a law enforcement official told the Washington Post that the agents were didn't use as the family asked them not do. But as per CNN report , agents protecting the couple do not enter the home.
On Friday, the migrants had set out at about 4 am (local time) from San Pedro Sula, young men and entire families carrying sleeping children. The security forces beat them back and deployed tear gas. Guatemala is requiring proof of a negative COVID-19 test.
They have been stuck at Vado Hondo since Saturday night, their progress slowed by the mountainous terrain.
In a statement, the ministry praised the Guatemalan government for acting in a "firm and responsible" manner toward migrants that had "violated (Guatemala's) sovereignty" and urged Honduras to prevent further movements of people.
President-elect Joe Biden has promised an end to the strict immigration policies of the Trump administration, which focused on building a border wall and restricting eligibility for asylum.
Do not waste your time and money and do not risk your safety or healthUS Customs and Border Protection official Mark A. Morgan said Thursday.
'Our priority is to reopen asylum processing at the border consistent with the capacity to do so safely and to protect public health, especially in the context of COVID-19, ' Susan Rice said to Spanish wire service EFE.
Guatemala, Mexico and Honduras have an agreement with the U.S. to stop north-bound migratory flows.
Guatemala has set up nearly a dozen control points on highways and may start busing more migrants back to Honduras, as it has done before, arguing they pose a risk to themselves and others by travelling during the coronavirus pandemic.
But all have run up against thousands of United States border guards and soldiers under Trump, who characterized immigrants from Mexico as "rapists" and criminals.
Francisco Garduño Yáñez, head of Mexico's National Immigration Institute, said in a statement Friday that his country has "to guarantee our national territory" and called for "an orderly, safe and legal migration with respect for human rights and with humanitarian policies".