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'Refugees welcome here': Protesters rally across US

Protests against United States President Donald Trump’s travel ban on people from seven predominantly Muslim nations continued for the second day, with thousands of demonstrators gathering at airports and outside the White House in solidarity with those hit by the controversial move.

Protesters gathered outside the White House and raised slogans like ‘This is what America looks like!’, ‘The people united, will never be divided’ and ‘No hate, no fear, refugees are welcome here,’ as they waved the American flag and held placards, opposing Trump’s order to block any visitors for 90 days from seven designated countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Similar protests were held across the nation and at airports, where confusion continued to prevail over the order after a New York judge’s order temporarily halting removal of individuals detained in the country. People gathered at Battery Park in Lower Manhattan, within the sight of the Statue of Liberty, Boston’s Copley Square as well as popular spots across San Francisco demonstrating and extending their support and solidarity with refugees and those impacted by the ban.

Hundreds of protesters had gathered at the Dulles International Airport, while at the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, scores of Muslims pulled out their prayer rugs and knelt, and at least 50 people were taken into police custody.

Mohammad Abdulhadi said he was blown away that hardly any of those protesting appeared to be Muslim. “I think the most beautiful thing about the entire evening was it wasn’t predominantly Muslim,” he told WFAA-TV. “There were Mexicans, priests, rabbis, men, women, everybody.”

It was the second consecutive weekend that protests were held across the country against the Donald Trump administration. Last weekend, just a day after Trump was sworn-in as President, millions of women and men had joined the ‘Women’s March’ across the nation against Trump’s policies on a host of issues.

Maryam Kanna, a 24-year-old Iraqi-American who lives in Arlington, Virginia, told WTOP News that the executive order was “totally alienating.” Kanna said she worries about her uncle, a British citizen, and her cousins in Canada, who may no longer be able to enter the US.

A woman who identified herself as Sonia from Sterling, Virginia, said she doesn’t recognise what she sees in the United States right now. “My dad’s a green card holder, and granted, the country he’s from is not on the ban list, but it really could easily be,” she said. “This is not the America I was raised in.”

Photographs: Baz Ratner, Ted Soqui, Laura Buckman/Reuters

Source: Rediff