On the morning of August 26th, federal police attacked migrants and two journalists while they were dispersing a blockade in front of the Siglo XXI migration center in Tapachula.
The two journalists, Damian Sanchez and Jose E. Torres, reported that they were beaten and kicked by the police when they were already on the ground. Some migrants were injured by police as well, and one was taken to the hospital for medical attention.
According to journalists, before the confrontation, an member of the Federal Police imitated a monkey with a very derogatory and racist gesture, directed against African migrants.
In the confrontation, the Federal Police used shields and pepper spray. A police officer was also taken to the hospital.
The violence comes after 11 days of blockade by a group of African migrants, who have been in front of the Siglo XXI facility seeking to obtain a change in the treatment of migrants from Africa and Asia. In the past, a migrant from one of these continents could receive a document that gave him 20 days to leave the country, which allowed him to travel legally to the northern border, and eventually enter the United States. However, since July 10th, the National Migration Institute (INM in its Spanish acronym) issued an executive order that states that migrants from these backgrounds will have to leave the country through the southern border. It is not clear if this policy change responds to pressure from the administration of the US president, Donald Trump, to force the Mexican government to curb migratory flows.
For more information in Spanish:
Policías federales agreden a migrantes y periodistas en estación Siglo XXI en Chiapas Animal Político, 27 de agosto de 2019.
Investigarán agresión a reporteros tras protesta de migrantes africanos El Sol de México, 27 de agosto de 2019.
Policía Actuó apegada a derechos humanos en enfrentamiento con migrantes: SSPC El Universal, 27 de agosto de 2019.
For more information from SIPAZ:
International/National: #DefensoresSinMuros-DefendersBeyondWalls Campaign Calls for End to Attacks against Defenders of Migrants’ Rights (July 8, 2019)
National/International: New Government Measures Seek to Curb Flow of Migrants (July 2, 2019)
National/International: US-Mexico Migration Deal Halts Imposition of Tariffs (June 17, 2019)