Hundreds of protesters convened in Logan International Airport on Saturday night to demonstrate against President Donald Trump’s recent executive order on immigration.
The protest was organized in the wake of an executive order signed by Trump on Friday that suspended the United States’ refugee program and temporarily banned entry into the country by nationals from seven majority-Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Sudan, Yemen and Somalia. It paralleled demonstrations at airports nationwide, including New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles and other cities, according to the Associated Press.
Protesters stood in the arrivals area of Logan Airport’s international terminal. Early in the protest, which began at about 7 p.m., activist Catalina Santiago gave a brief introductory speech both in English and Spanish. She noted the importance of unity in response to Trump.
“It is time for all immigrants to come together and join forces and stand … with our Muslim community,” Santiago said. “This is nothing new.”
In between songs and chants of “let them in,” several local politicians and activists, including Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson, addressed the crowd.
Jackson and Walsh strongly condemned Trump’s executive order and reaffirmed their support for Muslims and undocumented immigrants living in Boston.
“This is the beginning of the second American Revolution,” Jackson said.
At one point, Hamed Hosseini Bay emerged onto the concourse. Hosseini Bay, who is a postdoctoral scholar in biomedical engineering at Tufts, said he was questioned by authorities for several hours after returning to Boston from Iran. He was greeted at the airport by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and was promptly reunited with his family.
“I’m grateful for all the people back here, but it was chaotic,” Hosseini Bay told reporters.
Hosseini Bay was not the only person stopped by security personnel following Trump’s executive order. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, numerous individuals were detained at airports after arriving from countries listed in the order.
On Saturday night, a federal judge in Brooklyn issued a stay that prevented the government from deporting legally-authorized travelers who were detained. Later that night, a federal judge at Boston’s Moakley Courthouse also ordered that individuals not be detained at Logan Airport because of Trump’s executive order.
Meanwhile at Logan Airport, several protesters said they were encouraged by the number of people who gathered to oppose Trump’s executive order. Protester Jasmine Riad said she believes the executive order is both unconstitutional and an affront to American values.
“It’s really inspiring to see people so upset,” Riad told the Daily. “I feel supported here [in Boston], so I hope that extends to other regions of the [United States].”
Protester Ben Bradlow said that he views Trump’s action as a religious test for immigrants, a concept that he strongly rebuked as discriminatory. He added that he is hopeful for continued opposition to Trump, whom he sees as illegitimate.
“We are fighting for refugees, we are fighting for people of all religions and we are fighting for the protection and restoration of democracy,” Bradlow said.