Caravan migrants declare hunger strike to pressure US

Central American migrants - mostly Hondurans - moving towards the US in hopes of a better life, line up for food outside a temporary shelter as the US-Mexico border fence is seen in the background, in Tijuana, Mexico, on Nov 15, 2018.
Central American migrants - mostly Hondurans - moving towards the US in hopes of a better life, line up for food outside a temporary shelter as the US-Mexico border fence is seen in the background, in Tijuana, Mexico, on Nov 15, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

TIJUANA, MEXICO (AFP) - Ten Central American women taking part in the migrant caravan camped on the United States-Mexican border said on Thursday (Nov 29) that they were starting a hunger strike to pressure American authorities to let them apply for asylum.

"Since no one is listening to us, we've decided as a women's movement... to launch a hunger strike," said Ms Claudia Miranda of Honduras at an improvised press conference in the border city of Tijuana.

More than 6,000 migrants who travelled to the northern Mexican city by caravan are camped out hoping to apply for asylum or sneak into the US, fleeing poverty and violence in their home countries.

US President Donald Trump, who has called the caravan an "invasion" full of "hardened criminals" and "thugs", is seeking to overhaul asylum policy to keep applicants out pending approval.

Draped in white flags, the women tried to picket in front of the immigration offices at the border, but were blocked by a heavy police contingent.

The women are also calling on Mexican migration authorities to grant speedy humanitarian visas to migrants who want to remain in Mexico.

They did not say how long they planned to maintain their hunger strike.

 

After walking and hitch-hiking more than 4,000km to the US southern border, some 500 migrants tried to breach it on Sunday. They were forced back by US Border Patrol agents, who fired tear gas and rubber bullets.