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Mexican Protesters In Tijuana Demand Caravan Migrants Be Deported

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

There are protests happening in Tijuana, Mexico. Some people there are speaking out against the caravan of migrants from Central America that made its way north through Mexico to the U.S. border. Some 2,500 members of that caravan are in a government shelter in Tijuana. Another couple thousand are on their way. Many say they will try to claim asylum in the U.S. from there. Here's reporter James Fredrick.

JAMES FREDRICK, BYLINE: Protesters in Tijuana sent a clear message to the Central American migrant caravan on Sunday - we don't want you here. Roughly 300 gathered to protest, many wearing the national team's soccer jersey and waving Mexican flags. They sang the national anthem and chanted...

(SOUNDBITE OF PROTEST)

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS #1: (Chanting) Mexico. Mexico. Mexico. Mexico.

FREDRICK: They called the caravan an invasion and said they wanted the migrants deported. Many of the sentiments echoed the words of Tijuana's mayor, Juan Manuel Gastelum, who said in an interview with Milenio television, quote, "sure there are some good people in the caravan, but many are bad for the city." He called the caravan aggressive and is asking federal authorities to intervene. The demonstrators marched towards a stadium that the city government had set up for the caravan but were met by dozens of riot police who had formed a barricade a block from the shelter. Unable to reach the migrants, they shouted at the collection of men, women and children inside...

(SOUNDBITE OF PROTEST)

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS #2: (Chanting in Spanish).

FREDRICK: ..."Get out, Hondurans. We don't want you here." But in a city of more than 1.5 million people, a few hundred protesters don't speak for everyone. Many locals shouted angrily at the march as it passed, saying their Tijuana welcomed migrants. But increased tensions don't bode well for a situation that's unlikely to end soon. An informal list shows more than 3,000 people are waiting in Tijuana to request asylum in the U.S., and thousands more are on their way to the city. At the rate the requests are being processed, asylum-seekers will wait months in Tijuana knowing many locals don't want them here. For NPR News, I'm James Fredrick in Tijuana, Mexico.

(SOUNDBITE OF AK'S "23.01.2018") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.