EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – On October 31, around 12:20 p.m. a group of migrants marched across the Rio Grande from Juarez to El Paso carrying flags.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection says an agent was assaulted with a flag pole and agents then initiated crowd control measures.
“These measures included the use of the authorized less-lethal force pepper ball launching system,” said part of a statement from U.S. Customs and Border Protection following the incident.
According to CBP, following the launching of pepper balls the crowd dispersed and returned to Mexico.
Migrants who were in the crowd speaking with our crews across the border.
“We’re going to go to that side to have better access at the other entrance we’re heading that way women and children first the access is easier on that side,” said a man holding a flag from Honduras.
The group carried a huge American flag, among other flags. The American flag had “we, the migrants, built America” written on it. That flag was rolled up and carried across the Rio Grande by numerous people.
“Maybe they have their own protocols on how to handle the border and seeing this many people but we brought the U.S. flag and maybe they thought we were going to cross to the other side,” said a migrant staying at a tent camp set up on the Mexican side of the border. “And they reacted that way we don’t know what are the codes or the protocols that they use at the border and they fired those guns against us and there were two people from Honduras who reacted and threw stones at them.”
Congresswoman Veronica Escobar issued a statement following the incident saying she did contact Border Patrol and is concerned.
“I am concerned about everyone’s safety and security in the area, and I will remain in contact with all involved to closely monitor and gather more information as it becomes available,” said a portion of the Statement from Congresswoman Veronica Escobar.
In addition to the giant American flag, there were also flags from Venezuela, Honduras, and Mexico being carried.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection says the situation is still ongoing and more information will be provided as it becomes available.