Mon, Jul 02, 2018 - Page 5 News List

Protesters flood US cities to fight separation policy


A demonstrator on Saturday holds up a sign outside the Metropolitan Detention Center in Los Angeles, where immigrants have been detained by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), as thousands of people march to protest against the immigration policies of US President Donald Trump.

Photo: EPA

They wore white. They shook their fists in the air. They carried signs reading: “No more children in cages,” and “What’s next? Concentration camps?”

In major cities and tiny towns, hundreds of thousands of marchers gathered across the US on Saturday, moved by accounts of children separated from their parents at the Mexico border, in the latest act of mass resistance against US President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.

Protesters flooded more than 700 marches, from immigrant-friendly cities, such as New York City and Los Angeles, to conservative Appalachia and Wyoming.

They gathered on the front lawn of a US Border Patrol station in McAllen, Texas, near a detention center where migrant children were being held in cages, and on a street corner near Trump’s golf resort at Bedminster, New Jersey, where the US president was spending the weekend.

Trump has backed away from family separations amid bipartisan and international uproar.

His “zero tolerance policy” led US officials to take more than 2,000 children from their parents as they tried to enter the country illegally, most of them fleeing violence, persecution or economic collapse in their home countries.

The protesters demanded that the US government quickly reunite the families that had been divided.

A Brazilian mother separated from her 10-year-old son more than a month ago approached the microphone at the Boston rally.

“We came to the United States seeking help, and we never imagined that this could happen. So I beg everyone, please release these children, give my son back to me,” she said through an interpreter, weeping.

“Please fight and continue fighting, because we will win,” she said.

In Washington, an estimated 30,000 marchers gathered in Lafayette Park across from the White House in what was expected to be the largest protest of the day, stretching for hours under a searing sun. Firefighters at one point misted the crowd to help people cool off.

Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of the musical Hamilton, sang a lullaby dedicated to parents unable to sing to their children.

Singer-songwriter Alicia Keys read a letter written by a woman whose child had been taken away from her at the border.

“It’s upsetting. Families being separated, children in cages,” said Emilia Ramos, a cleaner in the city, fighting tears at the rally. “Seeing everyone together for this cause, it’s emotional.”

Around her, thousands waved signs. Some read “I care,” referencing a jacket that first lady Melania Trump wore when traveling to visit child migrants. The back of her jacket said: “I really don’t care, do U?” and it became a rallying cry for protesters on Saturday.

“I care!! Do you?” read Joan Culwell’s T-shirt as she joined a rally in Denver, Colorado.

“We care!” marchers shouted outside Dallas City Hall in Texas.

Organizer Michelle Wentz said opposition to the Trump administration’s “barbaric and inhumane” policy has seemed to transcend political lines.

“This is the issue crossing the line for a lot of people,” said Robin Jackson, 51, of Los Angeles, who protested with thousands carrying flags, signs and babies.

Singer John Legend serenaded the crowd and Democratic politicians who have clashed with Trump had strong words for the US president, including US Representative Maxine Waters, who called for his impeachment.

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