Halifax group gathers in solidarity with migrant caravan
'We're concerned there will be violence against the migrants and refugees'
People in Halifax gathered on Saturday afternoon to show solidarity with the migrant caravan making its way from Honduras to the United States border, but the group also highlighted Canada's role in the situation in Central America.
The event, organized by Stacey Gomez, brought about 50 people together to commemorate those who have died during this most recent caravan journey.
"We're concerned there will be violence against the migrants and refugees [at the U.S. border]," said Gomez, who is Guatemalan-Canadian.
About 50 people have gathered in <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Halifax?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Halifax</a> today to stand in solidarity with the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MigrantCaravan?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#MigrantCaravan</a> and discuss Canada’s role in what’s happening. The full story will be up on <a href="https://twitter.com/CBCNS?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CBCNS</a> later today. <a href="https://t.co/9gGi4cAEGR">pic.twitter.com/9gGi4cAEGR</a>—@cbcemma
She hopes to see these people allowed to put forward their claims and go through due processes without any violence.
More than 4,000 migrants from Central America remain weeks away from the U.S. border, but already 5,200 troops have been sent to the southwest border.
On Wednesday, U.S. President Donald Trump said the number of troops could go as high as 15,000.
Marcelo Sabuc, from Guatemala, was also at Saturday's event.
"What's happening in Honduras is not just happening in Honduras," he said through Gomez, who translated.
"Due to repression in Honduras, there's a lot of violence in the country and there's no way for people to live comfortably there. … They have a dream to go to the U.S. but they face many barriers in their journey."
Sabuc is spending 21 days travelling across Canada to speak on behalf of the Highlands Committee of Small Farmers in Guatemala.
The organization emerged in response to aggression against Indigenous and peasant farmers who were being persecuted by the Guatemalan government.
Sabuc said he feels strongly about the deaths that have happened during the journey so far.
"I'm also worried by the situation in the United States and the threats that have been made by President Trump. He is prepared to send the army to not let the migrants pass. I believe we all have the right to migrate and we all have the right to seek better opportunities in life," he said through a translator.
Gomez said the Canadian government has so far been silent about what's happening.
"I think Canadians would be surprised to learn the role that Canada has played in Honduras causing people to flee," she said.
"That includes backing the 2009 coup and also the subsequent illegitimate government of Juan Orlando Hernández, who is currently in power."
Gomez said Canada has also been benefited from the new mining laws that have opened the country up to Canadian mining.
She hopes to see the government make a statement in support of the migrants and refugees — and for Canada to rescind the Safe Third Country Agreement with the U.S., which means refugee claimants have to seek protection in the first of the two countries that they reach.