Tapachula, Mexico, Aug 5 (EFE).- Members of Mexico’s National Guard were deployed Thursday to quell a disturbance among migrants from various countries outside an office of the Comar refugee assistance agency.
The Comar branch in Tapachula, a city on the border with Guatemala, reopened Thursday after shutting down for nearly a week to allow Covid-19 pandemic cleaning and disinfection.
Hundreds of migrants, mostly from Central America but including significant numbers of Cubans and Haitians, flocked to the office and the Comar staff found themselves unable to manage the crowd.
As tensions rose, arguments and altercations broke out among the respective national contingents.
Comar requested help and a National Guard unit arrived, forming a human wall between the migrants and the building. The officers managed to restore calm and to persuade the people in the crowd to observe social distancing.
Venezuelan migrant Luis Gaston Rodriguez praised the action of the National Guard.
“The authorities cooperate with us to maintain order and for us to be able to expedite the procedures because the world is passing through a difficult stage,” he told Efe.
By late Thursday, fences had been erected and National Guard checkpoints set up to control the flow of people.
Other federal police circulated among the migrants to inform them that only people with appointments are admitted to the Comar office and instruct them in how to obtain an appointment.
Comar said Tuesday that it received 64,378 applications for asylum in the first seven months of the year.
Though the applicants represent a record 97 different countries, Hondurans, Haitians and Cubans are the largest groups. EFE