After nearly 3,000 Central American migrants travelling through Mexico in a bid to make their way to the US flooded the Mexican border city of Tijuana, hundreds of locals took to the streets to protest the arrival of the caravan.
Having gathered in front of a statue of the Aztec ruler Cuauhtemoc, which is 1.6 km away from the US border, demonstrators waved Mexican flags and chanted “Out! Out!” and “We don’t want them in Tijuana,” while calling the caravan an 'invasion'.
One of the protesters, Juana Rodriguez, said that the government needed to conduct background checks on the asylum seekers to make sure they don’t have criminal records, while another woman, Paloma, blasted the migrants, who she said came to Mexico in search of 'handouts'.
“Let their government take care of them,” Paloma told reporters.
Social media users have been sharing photos and videos from the site of the protests, saying that people have been chanting “Yes to migrants, no to invaders”:
Anti- caravan protest heading towards the sports complex where the migrants are staying in Tijuana pic.twitter.com/ABiWu9za3c— Sarah Kinosian (@skinosian) 18 November 2018
I’m at a protest against the migrant caravan at a prominent roundabout in Tijuana. “Yes to migrants, no to invaders,” people chant.— Rebecca Plevin (@rebeccaplevin) 18 November 2018
One woman said she’s opposed to massive caravans because Mexico doesn’t have the resources to support its own people, let alone others. @MyDesert pic.twitter.com/czV89sayDG
In a Sunday tweet, President Donald Trump cited Tijuana Mayor Juan Manuel Gastelum as saying that the city was 'ill-prepared' for the migrant influx:
The Mayor of Tijuana, Mexico, just stated that “the City is ill-prepared to handle this many migrants, the backlog could last 6 months.” Likewise, the U.S. is ill-prepared for this invasion, and will not stand for it. They are causing crime and big problems in Mexico. Go home!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 18 November 2018
Gastelum also stated that 2,750 migrants had arrived in the city so far, but Mexico's federal government has estimated the number could ultimately reach 10,000.
Trump has repeatedly emphasised that the caravans included gang members that pose a threat to US national security.