International

Venezuela crisis: More migrants cross into Brazil despite attacks

Presence of military police at the border has improved the situation

Brasillia.

The number of Venezuelans entering Brazil is rising, officials say, despite Saturday’s attacks on makeshift migrant border camps.

A Brazilian army spokesman said about 900 Venezuelans were expected in the state of Rorarima, a steep rise in the daily average.

The numbers of people trying to flee Venezuela’s economic collapse are stoking regional tensions. There is fresh uncertainty following the issuing of new banknotes.

Banks and shops were due to reopen on Tuesday after a public holiday on Monday, when the left-wing government lopped five zeros off the bolívar and anchored it to a new virtual currency called the petro.

The government says the move is needed to tackle runaway inflation, but critics say it could lead to even more chaos.

Opposition groups have called for strikes and protests on Tuesday.

What is happening in Brazil?

The Roraima state government has asked the Supreme Court to temporarily halt the entry of migrants from Venezuela, saying social services were being overwhelmed.

However, Brazilian Security Minister Sergio Etchegoyen said closing the border was "unthinkable, because it is illegal".

He said the presence of military police at the border had improved the situation.

"There’s tension, but there’s no conflict," he added.

Many of those crossing into Brazil say they are hungry and don’t have access to medical services in Venezuela.

The army said that on Sunday about 800 Venezuelan migrants arrived in Roraima, about 300 more than the average number crossing every day for almost a year.

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