Guatemala ups pressure on U.S.-bound migrant caravan

Guatemalan security forces on Monday cleared a road of hundreds of migrants in a caravan bound for the U.S., after an intense standoff overnight, during which police used sticks to try to beat back the mostly Honduran migrant group.

The clash Sunday night was the latest effort by Guatemalan authorities to break up the caravan, which authorities said numbered close to 8,000 people within hours of its departure for the United States from Honduras last week.

About 2,000 of the migrants installed themselves on the road after they clashed with Guatemalan security forces during a failed effort to make their way past.

The Guatemalan government said groups of migrants looked for alternative routes after the clearance. It was unclear how many were turning back altogether.

The migrants included families with young children. Many say they are fleeing poverty and lawlessness in a region rocked by the coronavirus pandemic and two hurricanes in November.

The first migrant caravan of the year comes just days before the inauguration of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden, who promised to adopt a more humane approach to migration than outgoing President Donald Trump, who favored a hardline approach.

Mexican President Andres Lopez Obrador on Monday warned migrants not to try to enter countries by force, and said he was in touch with both the outgoing and incoming U.S. administrations over the migrant caravan.