GUATEMALA CITY/TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) - More than 1,000 Honduran migrants bidding to reach the United States on Thursday burst through a border security cordon to enter Guatemala illegally, officials said, in a major new caravan formed weeks ahead of U.S. presidential elections.
Video footage on Facebook Live showed a crowd of mostly young men and women carrying backpacks and small children pushing past armed Guatemalan security forces at the Honduran border post of Corinto.
The incident, in which many migrants can be seen wearing face masks, followed a border stand-off as Guatemalan authorities tried to prevent them from entering by demanding proof that they did not have coronavirus.
Later another 300 migrants also crossed illegally, the Guatemalan migration department said.
The exodus occurred after months of economic chaos wrought by the coronavirus pandemic in Central America, and could draw the attention of U.S. President Donald Trump, who has made cracking down on illegal immigration a top priority.
"We want to pass peacefully, we don't want conflicts but we are determined to reach the United States," said a young man with a mask who identified himself as Alberto on the HCH television channel, before the migrants burst through.
"In Honduras there is nothing, there is no work and you cannot live," he added.
The pandemic has battered the economies of Central America, and killed more than 2,300 people in Honduras.
(Reporting by Sofia Menchu and Gustavo Palacio; Additional reporting by Lizbeth Diaz; Writing by Drazen Jorgic; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel and Richard Chang)
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