Several thousand migrants have formed a caravan in southern Mexico to march north towards the USA.
Around 5,000 people set out on Christmas Eve after a prayer in the town of Tapachula in the state of Chiapas on the border with Guatemala, the Mexican newspaper "Milenio" reported, citing local civil defense. The migrants mainly came from countries such as Venezuela, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Haiti. At the head of the procession, one participant carried a white cross.
They accused the Mexican immigration agency INM of inaction in processing their applications in Tapachula. "We are telling the Mexican state that it leaves us no option but to walk until the INM issues immigration permits," said activist Luis García Villagrán of the Center for Human Dignity, who coordinated the caravan. According to reports, the group's target is initially Mexico City, then the northern border.
Mexico is on the migration route of people trying to reach the United States. They are fleeing poverty, violence or political crises in their home countries. For several years now, migrants in the region have been increasingly forming groups or caravans to protect themselves from violence and deportation, but these often break up again after a while.