More than 800 immigrants from Central American republics marched in a demonstration in Mexico to demand “freedom of transit” with the goal of reaching the United States. Demonstrators from El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, among other republics of the isthmus, thronged in Saltillo – the capital of Coahuila, a state in northeastern Mexico. Many of them are undocumented and ride on the roofs of railcars to in turn rely on smugglers who ferry them across the international border and into the U.S. Criminal gangs extort money from migrants for safe passage on their way towards the U.S. Migrants are also subjected to murder and rape by the criminal gangs, as well as abuse by Mexican authorities.
Catholic Bishop Raúl Vera of Saltillo joined the demonstrators in a show of solidarity on May 1 with victims of Mexican criminal gangs and authorities who prey on hapless immigrants. Said the bishop to the protesters, "We see this tragedy not only here in Mexico, but also in other countries around the world. The Pope spoke of the tragedy of indifference, in which we are involved. Today, we ask for their freedom of movement,"
Having started on the outskirts of the city of some 800,000, the protesters reached the center of Saltillo after five hours. Each group sang the national anthem of their home country. In addition, Bishop Vera joined representatives of the protesters in a meeting with the state governor to demand free transit for all migrants.