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Thousands of migrants stormed a bridge over the Suchiate River from Guatemala on Monday, then took to the water to wade across when Mexican authorities refused to allow them to proceed north.
The massive caravan featured fathers with strollers hoisted on their shoulders and women carrying infants and small children through the mucky water to the north bank, where Mexican troops were waiting with tear gas and riot shields, according to The Associated Press.
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“On the Mexican side, migrants ran from side to side along the river bank, kicking up dust and looking for an opening in the ranks of the National Guard troops sent to meet them,” the news service reports.
“Guardsmen scrambled too, trying to head off groups and detaining people where they could. There was pushing and shoving. Some guardsmen carried plastic riot shields hit with rocks tossed by migrants and they occasionally sipped a rock back into the crowd.”
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Guardsmen toting rifles and long staffs worked to hold the line against several waves of migrants as they charged the banks screaming and lighting fireworks, tossing rocks and running in separate directions to elude capture.
The migrants were emboldened by previous caravans that have pushed through the checkpoint in recent years.
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“By river, that’s the way it will be,” Edwin Chavez, a 19-year-old from Tegucigalpa, told the AP.
“There’s no fear,” he said. “We’re already used to repression. In your country they repress you, they hit you. It’s always like that.”
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The rush across the river followed an unsuccessful attempt by thousands to storm the bridge to Mexico and demand free passage for all.
A migrant who refused to give his name to the AP read an open letter to Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador from the locked gates on the bridge earlier...
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