Hundreds of Central American migrants scrambled over a bridge wall and jumped into a river below as they battled to get past authorities stopping them at the Guatemala-Mexico border.
The mob swelled to at least 5,000 people — some estimates go as high as 10,000 — and once past police dressed in riot gear, they resumed their trek to the U.S.-Mexico border. The throng is currently marching toward the Mexican town of Tapachula, “10 abreast in a line stretching approximately a mile,” the Associated Press reported.
At the Suchiate River, some 700 federal police officers from Mexico made no attempt to intervene as hundreds of young men dropped off the bridge into the water, then swam, floated or rafted to Mexico. They are still nearly 1,800 miles from El Paso, Texas, and Google Maps says that would take 573 hours on foot.
They marched on through Mexico like a rag tag army of the poor, shouting triumphantly slogans like “Si se pudo!” or “Yes, we could!” As they passed through Mexican villages on the outskirts of Ciudad Hidalgo, they drew applause, cheers and donations of food and clothing from Mexicans.
Maria Teresa Orellana, a resident of the neighborhood of Lorenzo handed out free sandals to the migrants as they passed. “It’s solidarity,” she said. “They’re our brothers.”
Olivin Castellanos, 58, a truck driver and mason from Villanueva, Honduras, said he took a raft across the river after Mexico blocked the bridge. “No one will stop us, only God,” he said. “We knocked down the door and we continue walking.” He wants to reach the U.S. to work. “I can do this,” he said, pointing to the asphalt under his feet. “I’ve made highways.”
A day earlier, Mexican authorities halted entry to migrants on the bridge, but did allow women with small children in. By evening, the frustrated mob swept over the bridge fence and into Mexico. None were detained when they made it to land.
U.S. officials — and President Trump — warned the marchers when they started the march earlier this month in Honduras.
“We are seriously concerned about the caravan of migrants traveling north from Honduras, with false promises of entering the United States by those who seek to exploit their compatriots,” the U.S. Embassy in Honduras said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Trump threatened to cut off aid to Honduras if they allow the march to continue.
“The United States has strongly informed the President of Honduras that if the large Caravan of people heading to the U.S. is not stopped and brought back to Honduras, no more money or aid will be given to Honduras, effective immediately!” Trump said on Twitter.
But Trump is taking a more pragmatic view of late and said on Saturday that he may have a solution.
“Is that an incredible situation?” Trump said during a campaign rally in Elko, Nevada. “We’re going to figure it out,” he said, suggesting his administration has a solution, but planned to keep that information “low key until the election.”
Still, Trump reiterated, “They’re not coming into this country.”