US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials detain a man during a gathering in support of the migrant caravan in San Diego, close to the border wall between the United States and Mexico. Picture: Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters
US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials detain a man during a gathering in support of the migrant caravan in San Diego, close to the border wall between the United States and Mexico. Picture: Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters
A police officer and a US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) official detain people during a gathering in support of the migrant caravan in San Diego, close to the border wall between the United States and Mexico. Picture: Mohammed Salem/Reuters
A police officer and a US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) official detain people during a gathering in support of the migrant caravan in San Diego, close to the border wall between the United States and Mexico. Picture: Mohammed Salem/Reuters
A man holds a placard that reads, "Love knows no border" in front of US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials, during a gathering in support of the migrant caravan in San Diego. Picture: Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters
A man holds a placard that reads, "Love knows no border" in front of US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials, during a gathering in support of the migrant caravan in San Diego. Picture: Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters
US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials move back demonstrators during a gathering in support of the migrant caravan, close to the border wall between the United States and Mexico. Picture: Mohammed Salem/Reuters
US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials move back demonstrators during a gathering in support of the migrant caravan, close to the border wall between the United States and Mexico. Picture: Mohammed Salem/Reuters
US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials stand in front of people during a gathering in support of the migrant caravan in San Diego. Picture: Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters
US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials stand in front of people during a gathering in support of the migrant caravan in San Diego. Picture: Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters
People take part in a gathering in support of the migrant caravan in San Diego. Picture: Mohammed Salem/Reuters
People take part in a gathering in support of the migrant caravan in San Diego. Picture: Mohammed Salem/Reuters
People take part in a gathering in support of the migrant caravan in San Diego, close to the border wall between the United States and Mexico, as seen from Tijuana, Mexico. Picture: Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters
People take part in a gathering in support of the migrant caravan in San Diego, close to the border wall between the United States and Mexico, as seen from Tijuana, Mexico. Picture: Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters
US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials detain people during a gathering in support of the migrant caravan in San Diego, close to the border wall between the United States and Mexico, as seen from Tijuana, Mexico. Picture: Carlos Garcia Rawlins
US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials detain people during a gathering in support of the migrant caravan in San Diego, close to the border wall between the United States and Mexico, as seen from Tijuana, Mexico. Picture: Carlos Garcia Rawlins
People walk toward U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials standing guard during a gathering in support of the migrant caravan in San Diego, close to the border wall between the United States and Mexico, as seen from Tijuana, Mexico. Picture: Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters
People walk toward U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials standing guard during a gathering in support of the migrant caravan in San Diego, close to the border wall between the United States and Mexico, as seen from Tijuana, Mexico. Picture: Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters

San Diego - Kneeling in front of riot police, 32 religious leaders and activists were arrested at the US border fence in San Diego on Monday during a protest in support of the Central American migrant caravan.

More than 400 demonstrators, many leaders of churches, mosques, synagogues and indigenous communities, called for an end to detention and deportation of migrants and for the United States to welcome the caravan that arrived in Tijuana, Mexico in November.

Singing and praying, religious leaders moved forward in lines of four to six, some wearing t-shirts reading "Love Knows No Borders." They were handcuffed and led away by federal agents once they entered a restricted area in front of the fence.

"As a Quaker who believes in our shared humanity… We’re calling on the U.S. to respect the rights of migrants,” said Joyce Ajlouny, general secretary of Quaker group the American Friends Service Committee, which organized the protest.

U.S. Border Patrol spokesman Theron Francisco said 31 people were arrested by Federal Protective Services for trespassing and one was arrested by Border Patrol for assaulting an agent.

The arrests marked the second confrontation with U.S. federal agents since the migrant caravan reached Tijuana. U.S. Border Patrol agents fired tear gas at migrants on Nov. 25 after they said they had stones thrown at them.

Thousands of migrants are living in crowded shelters in Tijuana after travelling from Central America to escape poverty and violence. They may have to wait weeks or months to claim asylum at the U.S. border.

U.S. migrant activist Pat Murphy, who heads a Catholic-run migrant shelter in Tijuana, said demonstrators intended to carry out a blessing at the border fence to start a week of action called "Love Knows No Borders: A moral call for migrant justice."

"That was the idea, that we would meet at the wall and have a moment of prayer, but unfortunately the authorities of the U.S. were not in agreement with that," said Murphy.

Reuters