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Migrants' belongings burn in Palenque, Chiapas. Migrants' belongings burn in Palenque, Chiapas.

Chiapas community evicts Central American migrants, burns belongings

Residents claimed that robberies and assaults on women have increased since the migrants arrived

Residents of the municipality of Palenque, Chiapas, attacked and expelled Central American migrants who had been staying in the local auditorium for months.

Around noon on Monday, residents of the community of Pakal-Ná arrived at the auditorium and evicted the migrants who had taken refuge there with the approval of local authorities.

They said that robberies and assaults on women have increased since the migrants arrived and claimed to have identified the perpetrators among them.

Despite authorities guarding the auditorium, the angry residents took the migrants’ belongings outside and burned them in the park. They also demanded that local authorities close the doors to the auditorium and not allow the migrants to reenter.

Another group of citizens closed the highway connecting Pakal-Ná to the town of Palenque and the Palenque International Airport for three hours.

The Central American migrants fled the town and hid in abandoned houses on the outskirts, having nowhere else to sleep.

No injuries were reported during the eviction, but the Palak-Ná residents threatened to take further action to drive out the migrants should they attempt to reenter their community.

It was not the first time that Central American migrants had resorted to occupying abandoned houses in the face of having no other shelter.

Dozens of migrants forcibly entered and squatted in unoccupied houses in Tapachula, Chiapas, in December, forcing the owners to take legal action to compel authorities to remove them.

Sources: Milenio (sp), Periodismo Hoy (sp)

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