World Bulletin / News Desk
Thousands of demonstrators gathered Wednesday at Washington Square Park in solidarity with immigrants and Muslims in response to President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration that was signed earlier in the day.
The protest organized on social media by the New York City branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) attracted students from nearby New York University as well as community leaders and elected officials.
“We see executive orders that will strip our neighbors of their rights, that will target people because of their faith, and we say ‘no,’” Albert Cahn of CAIR NY told cheering crowds. “New Yorkers will not be silent, we will not stand by and let this happen.
“We are the city of diversity. This great city will always remain a beacon of light.”
Longtime city congresswoman Nydia Velazquez had a direct message for Trump. “We are here with a collective voice to send a strong message to Donald Trump. Mr. President, you will not divide us,” she said to thunderous applause.
As the first Puerto Rican woman to serve in Congress, Velazquez is no stranger to dealing with immigration issues and believes the country is faced with either living up to what she called a “longstanding traditions of acceptance and tolerance that have made us the greatest nation in the world” or choosing to allow “fear and intolerance” to take over.
“New Yorkers know how to answer this question,” she said. “And the inspiring sight of all of us gathered here tonight provides a resounding answer.”
As speeches continued, crowds chanted, “Say it loud, say it clear, refugees are here to stay” and “No hate, no fear, immigrants are welcome here.”
NYC Public Advocate Tish James showed up to send an illuminated message to the White House. “Whenever you see a government that is lawless, you have got an obligation and a duty to resist,” he said and asked demonstrators to light up the sky with their mobile phone torchlights as they chanted: “This is what democracy looks like.”
He had one more message for the president. “We will ultimately see you in court, Mr. President,” James said.
City Comptroller Scott Stringer went further and defied an order by the Trump administration. “I am here today as one of our city elected officials to make it very clear to President Trump that this city is, and this city always will be, a sanctuary city to all people,” he said in reference to actions by a number of cities across the country that have indicated they will refuse to share information about undocumented immigrants with federal officials.
Trump said he would withdraw federal funding for sanctuary cities which stand to lose millions in grants from the government.
“As a Jewish American, I stand with the Muslim community, because today and every day in New York City, we are one people,” Stringer said to roars and cheers.
Trump’s executive order on immigration instructs the government to immediately begin construction of a wall along the country’s southern border with Mexico, and the deportation of undocumented immigrants involved in crimes.
He is also expected to push for a more comprehensive plan to deport undocumented immigrants, and largely ban Muslim immigration and refugees, in keeping with some of his more controversial campaign pledges.
New York City officials have already made it clear they would resist any decision by the president to impose an immigration ban or Muslim registry.
Last week, President Trump's first full day in office witnessed a massive Women's March in the nation’s capital and dozens of other cities, attended by hundreds of thousands of protesters who confronted the incoming administration's policies.Güncelleme Tarihi: 26 Ocak 2017, 07:40