'We weren’t doing anything': Mother in iconic photo from Mexico border tells how she feared for her children

The image of Maria Meza and her terrified children fleeing tear gas at the Mexico-US border gained international attention and has become a symbol of the crisis currently unfolding in Tijuana.

The mother-of-five from Honduras has told ITV News they "weren't doing anything" when US border agents fired the tear gas, saying she feared her son "might die" after inhaling it.

"I never thought that those people from the Border Patrol would do this to the children because we are human beings and all of us are equal," she said.

Thousands of migrants have arrived in Tijuana from Central America seeking asylum in the United States and there were chaotic scenes on Sunday after several days of rising tension.

When Mexican police broke up a protest, there was a rush towards the border, prompting US officers to fire a volley of tear gas at the crowd.

Maria said she and her children were at the border at the time because they had heard it might be opened so they could seek asylum.

She said: "I was there with all of my kids and these other ones, too, and it was there when they started to fire these things there, that bomb.

"The canister fell and smoke started pouring out, and that’s when we began to shout 'Run! Run!'"

Maria said her son almost fainted because of the smoke and she feared for her children's safety.

"Nobody should have to see that their child might die with the bombs they fired at us," she said. "We weren’t doing anything. We were just walking alongside the wall when they started to fire the bombs at us."

Maria said she and her family have travelled to the border because of the poor state of the Honduran economy and crime in the country.

She told ITV News she wants "a better future for my children so they can get ahead".

The border was temporarily closed on Sunday and the Mexican government said it will deport around 500 migrants who tried to cross it "violently".

US President Donald Trump has frequently railed against the migrant caravan and told Mexican authorities to send them "back to their countries". On Monday he tweeted: "Do it by plane, do it by bus, do it anyway you want, but they are NOT coming into the USA. We will close the Border permanently if need be."

But Maria has not given up hope of entering the US.

"I’m going to ask God that they give us political asylum because I want my children to prosper in life," she said.

Asked if she had a message for President Trump, she said: "He doesn’t have to do these things. We are human beings. And for him to do this to our children...as mothers it pains us."