Border agents assembling on December 5
This week, immigrant-rights activist Enrique Morones again praised the U.S. Border Patrol for the restraint they showed during the November 24 confrontation in the Tijuana River channel just east of the shopping malls.
"They showed a lot of restraint in a very dangerous situation," Morones said. "We are very angry that someone manipulated these very vulnerable people, and we are very grateful to the Border Patrol that no one was badly hurt."
On Friday, December 6, San Diego sector chief Paul Beeson confirmed that authorities on both sides of the border are intensively investigating who provoked the 20-minute clash between about 200 people who came up the channel from the south and about two dozen Border Patrol agents. The investigation has narrowed to three individuals from both the U.S. and Mexico, he said.
On Thursday, December 5, about 70 demonstrators in Tijuana blocked northbound traffic lanes at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, then climbed into the concrete channel to join another 100 people there to march toward the U.S.
They stopped short of the international boundary, witnesses said, faced off against a wall of Border Patrol agents. There was no physical confrontation, unlike the incident on the 24th, when agents used pepperballs and batons to repel an advancing crowd, with rioters throwing rocks and bottles. This time, Mexican authorities broke up the demonstration, witnesses said.
In the wake of the November 25 incident, agents have stepped up their preparedness, according to union spokesman Gabe Pacheco.
"We are encouraging everyone to take every weapon they are trained and certified to use with them," Pacheco said. Among those weapons: shotguns, M4 carbines, and tasers. "We can't make them, but we are strongly encouraging them."
Meanwhile, Morones is focused on the documentary filmmakers who accompanied the migrants on November 25. He does not believe the crowd intended to try to escape the riot into the U.S.
"People who are crossing, they have backpacks and stuff they bring when they intend to stay. The video shows a few with day-packs, but you don't see them equipped the way people are when they mean to cross," he said. Like Morones, Pacheco believes it was a provocation, not a "banzai run." He also doesn't believe they were just channel-dwellers.
"Our agents know the people who live in the channel, the channel regulars, the ones who are there getting high," Pacheco said. "There were guys who had shirts and ties, people we've never seen before."
As to the November 26 report that identified some of the group as part of a "Viva Villa" movement, there have been no story developments on that front.
November 26 report identified The three filmmakers, including Bryan Andrade Chilian and Ana Andrade, did not respond to requests for a response over several days, by phone and through their various social media.
Jesus Guerri, the other of the three, has strongly denied they provoked the incident, posting on his Facebook page that "the incident we get on cameras last sunday was totally unexpected." He added that he thought the presence of the cameras would protect the group.
Morones has his doubts about their intent.
"They were out to make a name for themselves by putting vulnerable people in a situation where they could very well have been shot," Morones said. "Someone should go to jail for that."