Wall Street Journal
By Zolan Kanno-Young and Ben Kesling
January 29, 2017
Thousands gathered in New York and Washington on Sunday afternoon to protest President Trump’s executive order temporarily banning some foreign nationals and Syrian refugees from traveling to the U.S.
A day after protesters streamed to John F. Kennedy International airport, people swarmed Battery Park, which overlooks Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. Chants of “No Justice, No Peace,” “No Ban, No Wall,” and “This is our New York” reverberated throughout the park.
Citing security concerns, President Donald Trump late Friday suspended the entire U.S. refugee program for four months and banned for 90 days entry into the U.S. of nationals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
Police said Sunday afternoon over 10,000 people gathered at the rally before they marched through lower Manhattan.
Ahmad Saidi, a 60 year old Afghan who came to the U.S. 25 years ago as a refugee, came to the protest with his daughter, Tamanna Saidi, 17. “I feel a strong connection because both of my parents are refugees,” said Ms. Saidi, who was draped in an Afghan flag. She said her father is now a computer programmer and they are both U.S. citizens.
Ms. Saidi said the ban “just creates fear and a division that shows we are outsiders.”
Demonstrators gather at airports and downtown areas to rally against refugee ban
Seattle police moving the last group of protesters down the stairs and out of a Seattle-Tacoma International Airport terminal in the early morning hours of Sunday after giving a final dispersal order.
Demonstrators gathering near the White House on Sunday to protest President Donald Trump's suspension of the U.S. refugee program and his ban for 90 days of entry into the U.S. of nationals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somali, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
At the back of the march in lower Manhattan, David Rein, a 46 year old in a “Make America Great Again” hat debated, with multiple protesters on President Trump’s policies. Many of the protesters criticized the ban while the Trump supporter said they were wrong for chanting “Not My President.”
“This is all for nothing. You all are wasting your time today,” Mr. Rein said. “Work with change. He is no longer Donald Trump, he is the institution of the presidency,” he said.
At the end of the exchange two of the protesters shook hands and embraced Mr. Rein. Mr. Rein said, “That’s what’s great about this country, we can disagree.”
In Washington, protesters streamed toward the White House just after noon, filling up areas to the east of the building but unable to get too close because construction workers had not yet taken down the grandstands and temporary fencing set up for the Jan. 20 inauguration.
Chanting, “This is what Democracy looks like,” and “No wall, no ban,” thousands of opponents of the Trump administration’s entry ban pressed in at Lafayette Park, named after the Frenchman who fought alongside American colonists to secure independence from Britain.
Rula Tareq, a student born in Lebanon to a Lebanese mother and Iraqi father, who said she arrived in the U.S. as a refugee in 1999, wore a Muslim head scarf and an Iraqi flag as a cape.
“If we hadn’t been able to come in, I don’t know what would have happened,” she said. “A lot of people see America as a land of opportunity. This takes away from our credibility.”
Though she now holds a U.S. passport, she fears reciprocal visa bans from Iraq and Lebanon could limit her ability to visit family there.
“This is putting the most vulnerable in danger,” she said. “But it’s also putting us in danger,” she said, speaking as an American citizen worried about her safety when traveling.
Just a few hours after they gathered at the White House, thousands of people flowed down Pennsylvania Avenue toward the U.S. Capitol, filling the street and jamming up traffic on side roads.
The procession slowed and thickened in front of Trump International Hotel, where protesters clamored for a view. Last week, workers put up platforms intended to be used to view Mr. Trump’s inaugural parade. On Sunday, people used them instead to watch streets jammed with people protesting his presidency.
Protestors also mobilized at major airports in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Philadelphia for a second day.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf on Sunday met with an Allentown family whose relatives from Syria had arrived in Philadelphia a day earlier, only to be put on a plane back to the Middle East because of Mr. Trump’s executive order.
The Democratic governor said members of the Assali family have lived in Allentown for decades and include a 25-year Army veteran who fought in the Gulf War. He said their relatives in Syria had been working on traveling to the U.S. for years and had legal visas.
“It’s a dark day for all of us,” Mr. Wolf said in televised remarks. “I don’t think he thought this through, the president.”
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti speaking at a news conference at the airport, said there were still about a “handful” of passengers being processed by immigration officials there, but immigration officials and the regional head of the Department of Homeland Security had assured him that the stay on the order issued by a Federal judge in Brooklyn on Saturday was being followed.
“We don’t slam the doors on refugees, it’s just wrong, and it’s inhumane,” said Mr. Garcetti, a Democrat.
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