Locals and Central American migrants use a makeshift raft across the Suchiate river from Tecun Uman in Guatemala, to Ciudad Hidalgo in Chiapas State, Mexico [Quetzalli Blanco/AFP]

Tapachula, Mexico – Elmer Wilmer Pineda was right across the river from Mexico this weekend when he heard the border was going to be militarised. Honduran migrants and asylum seekers at a shelter on the Guatemalan side of the border were passing around an article shared on Facebook.

“People were worried,” he told Al Jazeera. “Many people left during the night and early the next morning.”

Pineda, 45, earned seven dollars a day working at a plantain chip factory in San Nicolas, in Santa Barbara department in western Honduras. But gangs demanded workers pay them eight

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