Migrants protest, demanding attention from authorities in southern Mexico

Tapachula, Mexico, Dec 19 (EFE).- African and Haitian migrants on Monday protested in the southern Mexican border city of Tapachula, demanding that they be admitted to the temporary aid center there and creating mayhem as they forced their way into the facility, although authorities there refused to attend to them immediately and asked them to leave and form a line outside, where more than 1,000 other migrants were already congregated.

Since last Friday, a large number of illegal migrants have been camped and sleeping outdoors around the temporary immigration center waiting for their requests for multiple migration forms that will allow them to travel through Mexico to be processed.

The African and Haitian migrants, who arrived at the site on Monday, tried to cut into the lines of Venezuelan, Ecuadorian and Central American migrants already waiting there, sparking the brawl and trying to get into the building.

On several occasions, Africans entered the aid center, but authorities within convinced them to leave peacefully.

Estela Mantela, a Venezuelan migrant, said that the Africans got angry and tried to push their way to the front of the lines.

“Since Friday, we’ve been making lines and gathering, but the Africans and Haitians arrived and tried by force to push into the lines and tried to enter (the processing center) by force,” she said.

The situation at the site got out of control on Monday because an “unbelievable” number of people are sleeping in the area and waiting in line, another Venezuelan migrant, Jonde Ramirez, said.

“There are people who are not in agreement (with the procedures) and who got out of control. Better logistics are needed. The Africans come here with their bad attitude to push into the lines and they don’t understand, because it’s difficult to talk to them” due to the language barrier, he said.

Ramirez added that the personnel with the National Migration Institute (INM) are taking care of all the migrants slowly but surely, but there is a lack of self-control and a certain amount of disorganization among some of those same migrants.

National Guard troops arrived at the immigration center, along with Tapachula municipal police officers and members of the Beta Group, who helped immigration agents control the situation, given that in every part of the line there were altercations erupting between Venezuelans and Africans.

The federal forces were deployed throughout the area and issued orders to the more than 1,000 migrants, including men, women and children, who were seeking to ensure that they were in Chiapas legally.

After restoring order, the migrants were allowed to enter the facility in groups of 50 to be able to go through the procedures for gaining legal permission to be in Mexico, a process that takes between five and seven hours and for which they are urged to wear facemasks and to bring enough food and water because once the proceedings are initiated the migrants are not allowed to leave the center until they are completed.

In addition, the offices of the Mexican Commission to Aid Refugees (Comar) is experiencing a large influx of foreign migrants seeking asylum in Mexico.

EFE jmb/ia/bp

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