Thousands of mostly Honduran migrants bound for the United States surged across the border into Guatemala on Thursday.
Carrying backpacks and plastic bags, the migrants pushed past two lines of Guatemalan soldiers at the Entre Rios border crossing and continued northwards — defying the risks and restrictions linked to the coronavirus pandemic.
The soldiers handed out water to passing migrants, some of whom applauded the troops for allowing them to pass.
Guatemalan Migration Institute officials said some 3,000 people had crossed the border without submitting to a Covid-19 test, required for foreigners entering the country.
Many were not wearing masks against the spread of infection.
Guatemala opened its borders last week after a six-month closure to prevent the spread of the virus, which has hit Central American countries hard.
The migrants had set off on Wednesday night from Honduras’ second city San Pedro Sula.
Honduran Red Cross officials said 1,200 people left in a first group, joined a few hours later by around 2,000 more, walking north to the border with Guatemala.
Some of the migrants said they recognized the risks of catching the coronavirus while on the move, but were prepared to take the risk to escape from high levels of poverty and violence in Honduras.
“We’re not thinking about the pandemic, it’s the last thing on our minds,” 20-year-old Jefrey Amaya told AFP, part of a group of young people from El Negrito, in Honduras’ Yoro department.
Amaya said he had joined the caravan after seeing a message on social media.
“We are going in search of the American dream, no one will stop us. Either we die here from Covid-19 or we die of hunger. Governments are doing nothing to create jobs,” another migrant, 27-year-old Miguel Artiga, told AFP.
The vast majority of the migrants on the move are young men. Few women and children were seen.
Walmart pulls guns from sales floors, citing civil unrest
Walmart plans to remove guns and ammunition from its sales floors in the US following unrest in Philadelphia this week, a spokeswoman said Thursday.
The retail giant will continue to sell the items to consumers who request them, but will pull them from displays. Guns and ammunition are sold at about half of US stores, primarily in locations where hunting is popular, a company spokeswoman said.
"We have seen some isolated civil unrest and as we have done on several occasions over the last few years, we have moved our firearms and ammunition off the sales floor as a precaution for the safety of our associates and customers," a Walmart spokeswoman said. "These items do remain available for purchase by customers."
‘Signs of a coming conflict are everywhere’: Why a 2nd Civil War would be quite different from the 1st
In 2020, the United States has been rocked by everything from a deadly pandemic and a brutal recession to civil unrest in a long list of cities to fears that violent conflicts will occur either on Election Day or after the election. Journalist Matthew Gault, in an article published by Vice this week, wonders if the political divisions in the United States run so deep that the country is headed for another civil war.
Describing the unrest that has occurred this year, Gault writes, "People are marching in the streets, aligned with two ideologically distinct factions. Many of them, overwhelmingly from one side, are armed, and violence and death has resulted when these two sides have clashed. The signs of a coming conflict are everywhere."
‘#PerdueIsChicken’: Internet mocks ‘coward’ GOP senator for canceling debate after Ossoff destroyed him in viral video
Democratic Senate hopeful Jon Ossoff destroyed his Republican incumbent opponent so thoroughly Wednesday evening that Georgia Senator David Perdue has just canceled the third and final debate.
“It’s not just that you’re a crook, Senator, it’s that you’re attacking the health of the people that you represent,” Ossoff told Perdue, who had little to say in response. The viral video had been watched 5 million times by Thursday morning. It's now been viewed 9.3 million times, nearly as many times as the number of people in the entire state of Georgia.