Tens of thousands protest Trump’s immigration ban in cities and airports across the US

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Demonstrators protesting President Donald Trump’s executive order travel ban in Boston on Sunday.
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REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Tens of thousands of people rallied in US cities and at airports on Sunday to voice outrage over President Donald Trump’s executive order restricting entry into the country for travelers from seven Muslim-majority nations.

In New York, Washington, and Boston, a second wave of demonstrations began the afternoon after spontaneous rallies broke out at US airports on Saturday as US Customs and Border Protection agents began enforcing Trump’s directive. The protests on Sunday were expected to spread westward as the day progressed.

The president’s order, which bars admission of Syrian refugees and suspends travel to the US from Iraq, Iran, Sudan, and four other countries on national-security grounds, has led to the detention or deportation of hundreds of people arriving at US airports.

It was the second straight weekend of large-scale protests. Last Saturday, hundreds of thousands of women participated in an anti-Trump rally and march in Washington, one of dozens staged across the country.

Trump defended the executive order in a statement on Sunday, saying the US would resume issuing visas to all countries once secure policies were put in place over the next 90 days.

“To be clear, this is not a Muslim ban, as the media is falsely reporting,” Trump said. “This is not about religion – this is about terror and keeping our country safe.”

‘Never again means never again’

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A woman in New York City listening to speakers during a protest against Trump’s travel ban.
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REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

Aria Grabowski, 30, of Washington, was carrying a sign that read: “Never again means never again for everyone.”

Above the slogan was a photograph of Jewish refugees who fled Germany in 1939 on a ship, the St. Louis, that was turned away from Havana, Cuba, and forced to return to Europe. More than 250 people aboard the ship were eventually killed by the Nazis.

Rhonda Reese, 56, a Muslim from northern Virginia, said: “As a Muslim, I do appreciate the support that I see. Our community feels under siege right now.”

In Houston, already filling up with visitors for next Sunday’s Super Bowl, about 500 people marched through the downtown.

Jennifer Fagen, 47, a professor of sociology at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, said she hoped she did not lose her job for protesting.

“I’m Jewish and it’s supposed to be never again. Jews should be the first ones to defend Muslims considering what has happened to us and it seems it’s being repeated under Trump,” Fagen said, referring to the Holocaust.


One of the largest of Sunday’s protests took place at Battery Park in lower Manhattan, within sight of the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor, long a symbol of welcome to US shores.


Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer of New York told the crowd that the Trump order was un-American and ran counter to the country’s core values.


The march, estimated to have grown to about 10,000 people, later began heading to the US Customs and Border Protection office in lower Manhattan.


Watch the scene on the ground in New York:


Organizers estimated that more than 10,000 people gathered at Boston’s Copley Square to demonstrate against Trump’s executive order.

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REUTERS

Speakers in Boston included Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a vocal critic of Trump and a leader of the Democratic Party’s liberal wing.

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REUTERS

During the protests, dozens of Muslims, some of them kneeling on protest signs, bowed in prayer on rugs laid on a grassy patch of ground in the square.

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REUTERS

In Washington, thousands rallied at Lafayette Square across from the White House, chanting: “No hate, no fear, refugees are welcome here.”

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REUTERS

As the crowd passed the Canadian Embassy en route to the Capitol, protesters chanted: “Hey hey, ho ho, I wish our leader was Trudeau.”

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REUTERS

The chant was a reference to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Twitter message on Saturday reaffirming his country’s welcoming policy toward refugees. He was one of many global leaders who criticized Trump’s order.

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REUTERS

Protesters marched along Pennsylvania Avenue, stopping at the Trump International Hotel, where they shouted: “Shame, shame, shame.”

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REUTERS

A crowd estimated by the police at 8,000 eventually arrived at the steps of the US Capitol, where a line of uniformed officers stood guard.

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REUTERS

Hundreds of protesters gathered at Los Angeles International Airport (shown here), Dulles International Airport, and New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, among others.

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REUTERS

A massive crowd formed at the international arrivals gate of the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport in Texas.

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REUTERS

Anxious families awaited relatives detained for hours at JFK and other airports after flights from countries affected by the presidential order.

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The Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.
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REUTERS

People gathered to pray in baggage claim at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

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REUTERS

Federal judges issued rulings on Saturday and Sunday preventing the deportation of affected travelers stuck in airports across the US, but the long-term effects and legality of the executive order remain unclear.

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The Dulles International Airport outside Washington.

Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina became two of the most prominent GOP lawmakers to criticize the ban, saying they “fear this executive order will become a self-inflicted wound in the fight against terrorism.”

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REUTERS