A large group of thousands of migrants from across Latin America, which has slowly been winding its way through Mexico, has clashed with police.
MEXICO, (December 13, 2021).-Sunday’s clash happened as the group approached the capital, Mexico City. Their plan was to reach the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a Catholic pilgrimage site in the capital.
But police blocked the migrants, saying they should first spend the night at a hostel set up for that purpose, before continuing on their way.
Thousands of people, many from Central America but some from as far away as the African continent, have been crossing Mexico in an attempt to reach the United States to escape the poverty and violence of their homelands.
They often gather in groups thousands strong for safety, dubbed migrant caravans.
This particular caravan was walking along the Puebla-Mexico City highway when its way was barred by riot police.
At least a dozen police and a number of migrants were injured.
According to government officials, 550 police officers were deployed to escort the migrants on their way through the capital.
The officers said they were attacked first by the migrants, who threw stones and grabbed their shields.
The migrants say they felt threatened when they were corralled by hundreds of officers in riot gear.
Tension between police and the migrants has been running high as Mexico is under pressure from the US to stem the number of people crossing Mexican territory on their way north to US border.
More than 190,000 migrants entered Mexico between January and September, according to official figures.
That figure is three times that recorded in 2020. Some 74,300 have been deported.