Demonstrators Gather to Protest Executive Order [Story+Photo Gallery]
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St. Louis-area protestors join those throughout the country who aren't happy with the new President's executive order.
Several hundred demonstrators formed together outside of Lambert-St. Louis Airport on Jan. 29, protesting the executive order signed into action by President Donald Trump in the late afternoon of Jan. 27. The planned event comes after many groups arrived at airports throughout the nation to make their voices heard as residents and citizens of the U.S. were detained by Customs and Border Patrol officers at Immigration Checkpoints.
“I couldn’t believe anyone would think to do something like that,” demonstrator Mike Casale said.
St. Louis Airport Police sectioned off a portion of the departures level of Terminal One between exits five and six. The demonstrators packed the area, chanting various expressions in support of those affected by the bans. Many held signs reflecting on their heritage as immigrants, acknowledging their support for all religions around the globe, while some hurled insults at President Trump.
“I didn’t vote for Trump,” demonstrator Meg Korte said. “I don’t agree with his policies. I believe he never wanted to be President. [Our] country is protesting what he’s doing and in one week, look what he’s done. I would like him to resign.”
“Refugees are welcome here, no hate, no fear.” pic.twitter.com/iWPdDRQsq4
— Chase Meyer (@AvJournalist) January 29, 2017
The airport remained open and fully operational, not reporting any delays as a result of the protest. Lambert Airport administration said they worked to understand the type of protestors that would attend, and strived to keep customers feeling safe. It has not been initially made clear who reached out to the airport administration to coordinate the protest, however CEO and Director of Airports Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge acknowledged that she is pleased that participants were able to voice their opinions.
“We appreciate people’s rights for being able to speak out,” Hamm-Niebruegge said. “We appreciate people coordinating with us and respecting that we still have to keep our airport operational and running. I think the crowd worked very well with us to make this work.”
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While protests initially erupted at various U.S. airports Saturday, ACLU attorneys were busy making their case to Federal Judge Ann M. Donnelly of Brooklyn, New York. The judge granted those who were detained a temporary stay. While it did not necessarily allow the travelers to be released from CBP custody, it prevented them from being deported to their country of origin.
Details released by the Trump administration on WhiteHouse.gov outline the President’s desire to protect Americans from terrorism. The travel restrictions are an attempt to form a more vigorous vetting process for those arriving into the U.S. Supporters of the executive order believe it will help protect the country from terrorists, however others believe it will drive a wedge further between citizens.
“The biggest takeaway is to don’t try to divide by race or by class or by religion,” demonstrator Derek Dickinson said. “If everyone can work together and not be divided, then our country can move forward in a positive way. When you try to divide, everything will fail.”