Thousands of New Yorkers gathered in lower Manhattan’s Battery Park on Sunday to protest the executive order signed by President Trump on Friday that halted immigration from seven Muslim countries and barred entry for all refugees for at least the next 90 days.
Bookended by One World Trade Center to the north and the Statue of Liberty to the east, the diverse crowd of demonstrators alternated between chants of “Let them in” and “No hate, no fear, refugees are welcome here,” as several local officials, including New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, took the stage to condemn Trump’s action.
“The president’s executive order is un-American,” de Blasio declared to cheers from the crowd. “We see clearly where this road leads and how dangerous it is.”
There were many children present, including a young boy who stood with his family behind a large Yemeni flag and led a group of demonstrators in a call-and-response chant of “Show me what democracy looks like, this is what democracy looks like.”
“Yemen, one of seven,” said the boy’s father, referring to seven countries affected by Trump’s travel ban. In addition to Yemen, they are Syria, Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Sudan and Libya.
Abu Ali, who immigrated to the U.S. from Libya 42 years ago, said he and his family had come from their home in Connecticut to Sunday’s protest “to try to educate people” about Muslims, because “President Trump, he’s really discriminating against the Muslims.”
“There is extremist, there are people who are not extremist, you can’t put everybody in the same basket,” he said, urging that “everybody has to be treated in a dignified way.”
“If a hurricane comes here, it wouldn’t distinguish between Muslim and Irish,” he added. “We’re all in the same boat.”
Ali said he is an electrical engineer, his wife is a teacher and his son works at Yale hospital. Like them, he said, many people seeking refuge in the U.S. want to “contribute to American society.”
“They’re coming from decent families,” he said. “They’re coming to make it.”
Sunday marked the second day of massive protests in New York and around the country in response to Trump’s controversial order. On Saturday night, thousands rallied at the international terminals of major airports in New York City, Chicago, Dallas and several other cities, where citizens of affected countries were already being detained. On Saturday night, a federal judge in New York granted an emergency stay for citizens of those countries who are already in the U.S. or traveling here with valid visas.
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