Thousands Protest Globally Against Trump, Travel Ban
Protests erupted for a third straight week across the United States and beyond, targeting policies of U.S. President Donald Trump and criticizing his presidential demeanor.
Late Friday, a U.S. federal judge temporarily blocked the president’s executive order, signed January 27, that banned travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.
However, that didn’t stop demonstrators from gathering around the globe.
In London, several thousand people gathered Saturday outside the U.S. embassy, holding signs and chanting anti-Trump slogans. The protest was organized by several anti-racism and Muslim advocacy groups who condemned the U.S. travel ban as well as Prime Minister Theresa May’s government for taking so long to criticize it.
Later in the day, protesters marched from the embassy in Grosvenor Square to Downing Street.
A week ago, hundreds of people had gathered in downtown Toronto to protest the travel ban imposed by the new U.S. president. On Saturday, thousands gathered outside the U.S. consulate in the city and marched against Islamophobia as well as the U.S. leader.
Similar protests in Paris and Berlin drew smaller crowds of about 1,000 protesters each.
In Australia, about 1,000 people rallied in the eastern city of Sydney to protest the executive order and call on Australian leaders to close the country’s offshore refugee processing centers.
A small group of about 30 activists gathered outside the U.S. embassy in Indonesia to protest the travel ban as well.
March: Protesters in London Rally Against Trump, Travel Ban
Poll: Nearly half of American support ban
Polls suggest nearly half of Americans support the ban, with opinion sharply divided along party lines.
The latest poll, released Friday by CBS News, found that 45 percent of U.S. citizens approve of the travel ban, compared to 51 percent who disapprove. A Reuters/Ipsos poll earlier in the week showed 49 percent agreed with the measure, compared with 41 percent who disagreed.
Rafael Diaz-Yoserev, 69, who came to the United States from Cuba at age 13, may have voted for Trump, but admits he often finds the president’s demeanor offensive.
“I still don’t like him,” says Diaz-Yoserev, who works as a surgeon in Miami, Florida. “But I’m in agreement with everything he’s done so far.”
The White House says the order is aimed at protecting the U.S. from foreigners who wish to do it harm. But opponents say it actually makes the country less safe because it is an unconstitutional and discriminatory policy that represents a first step toward fulfilling Trump’s campaign pledge to ban Muslim immigration.
Diaz-Yoserev doesn’t see it that way.
“I have nothing against immigration. I’m an immigrant myself,” he says. “But if some foreigners are inconvenienced for the protection of the people of the United States, then it’s obviously an acceptable trade-off.”
Those opposing the ban, which affects travelers from seven Muslim-majority nations, however, gathered by the thousands at rallies across the U.S.
March: Anti-Trump Protesters Rally in Palm Beach, Florida
Marching in Florida
Saturday evening, more than 2,000 protesters marched from Trump Plaza in West Palm Beach, Florida, to near Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, where the International Red Cross was hosting a fundraiser that included President Trump.
In Miami, hundreds of people had gathered at Bayfront Park for an afternoon rally that shut down several streets. The demonstrators were protesting several of Trump’s emerging policies, including rights of the lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual and questioning (LGTBQ) community.
Thousands of people also rallied for LGBTQ rights in front of the Stonewall Inn, a U.S. National Monument and gay rights landmark in New York.
Earlier in the week, Trump had released a statement pledging to support the rights of LGBTQ people in the federal workplace after speculation started to grow that he may do away with the 2014 executive order. Some activist groups have expressed concern that Trump would do away with the order or institute some other policies that would have affected the gay community.
A few hundred protesters gathered in the snow in Philadelphia Saturday outside a building where Vice President Mike Pence gave a speech to the city’s chapter of the Federalist Society, a conservative lawyers group. The demonstrators held signs that said, “No Ban No Wall.”
About 600 protesters rallied at a park near House Speaker Paul Ryan’s home in Janesville, Wisconsin, according to the Janesville Gazette. Demonstrations were also held in other U.S. cities, including Denver.
In Los Angeles, dozens of supporters and opponents of the president squared off at the Los Angeles International Airport.
Wes Parker, 62, from Long Beach, California, told the Reuters news agency he supported the tighter measures.
“We just have to support the travel pause,” said Parker, holding a sign that said “Trump is love.” “If you were a new president coming in, wouldn’t you want what you feel safe with?”
Jennifer Morita Kerr, wore a sign that said “Japanese Americans against the ban. Immigrants welcome,” the Los Angeles Times reported. Kerr, of Hacienda Heights, California, told the Times, “I’m here because this happened to my family. My father, my grandparents and my great grandparents were all put in internment camps. They lost everything.”
Late Saturday, the Department of Justice filed a notice of appeal in a step toward asking the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to lift the judge’s ruling.
VOA’s William Gallo contributed to this article.