Despite Mexican efforts to stop them at the border, about 2,000 Central American migrants swam or rafted across a river separating that country from Guatemala, re-formed their mass caravan in Mexico and vowed to resume their journey toward the United States.
Their numbers swelled to about 5,000 overnight and at first light they set out walking toward the Mexican town of Tapachula, 10 abreast in a line stretching approximately a mile.
It was not immediately clear where the additional travelers had materialized from since about 2,000 gathered on the Mexican side Saturday night. They seemed likely to be people who had been waiting on the bridge over the Suchiate River or in the Guatemalan town of Tecun Uman and who decided to cross during the night.
At dawn there were still an estimated 1,500 migrants on the Guatemalan side hoping to enter legally.
They marched on through Mexico like a rag tag army of the poor, shouting triumphantly slogans like “Si se pudo!” or “Yes, we could!”
As they passed through Mexican villages on the outskirts of Ciudad Hidalgo, they drew applause, cheers and donations of food and clothing from Mexicans.
Mexico had sought to maintain order after a chaotic Friday in which thousands rushed across the bridge, only to be halted by a phalanx of officers in riot gear. The authorities began handing out numbers for people to be processed in a strategy seen before at United States border posts when dealing with large numbers of migrants.
But despite a continued heavy police deployment on the bridge, a steady stream of migrants made it to Mexican soil with relative ease by crossing the Suchiate River, which demarcates the notoriously porous border. They were not detained upon reaching the Mexican side.