Monday, November 19, 2018
What started as a peaceful march in Tijuana Sunday turned tense as hundreds of anti-caravan protesters marched to a shelter where Honduran migrants were staying. Protesters threw beer cans at riot police who blocked their entrance to the shelter as the crowd shouted, "Hondurans get out, we don't want you here," around noon in Tijuana's Zona Norte.
Organizers said the event, which began around 9 a.m., was not necessarily anti-migrant but anti-invasion. "Legal migration, yes -- illegal invasions, no," said organizer Fidel Ernesto Gonzalez Hernandez. "That is our message."
More than 1,000 demonstrators showed up. Many wore Mexican soccer jerseys, waved Mexican flags, and sang the Mexican anthem. Children carried signs that read, "Mexico first," and "No more caravans."
The demonstrators' main gripe with the Central American caravan is that the migrants are undocumented, therefore residents do not know how many members of the caravan have criminal records and may pose a threat.
"I'm not of the opinion that all of them should leave," said Tijuana resident Veronica Esquivel, 45. "I think that the criminals should be deported, and the ones who want to stay or go to the United States should do so legally."
Protesters also accused some of the migrants of smoking marijuana, trashing the streets of Tijuana and not being appreciative of the city's generosity.
"They are entitled, they even complain about the food," said Javier Alvarez, 48, of Tijuana.
Also on Friday, Tijuana Mayor Juan Manuel Gastelum criticized the migrants' behavior.
"Supposedly they are fleeing catastrophe, mistreatment in their countries of origin," he said. "How is it possible that they arrive here and, if they want, create disorder?"
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