March 15-16: No Ban! No Wall! Resisting Trump's Muslim 2.0 Ban
Updated March 17, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
These are initial reports from the March 16 protests of Trump's Muslim ban, and the page will be updated as more reports come in. Check back for more.
2,500 in Nashville, Tennessee, Say: No Trump, No Pence, No Wall, No Fence
Nashville, March 15. Photo: @deniseMdeniseM/Twitter
On March 15, as Trump was speaking at another Nazi rally in Nashville, Tennessee, a protest crowd estimated to be 2,500 people was outside the Municipal Auditorium to declare a loud “NO” to him and his regime. People converged on the auditorium from different locations. Among them were a group of students from Fisk University, a historically Black university that dates back to shortly after the Civil War, who walked out of classes earlier in the afternoon. Fisk students have a long and proud history of fighting injustice, including playing an important role in the Freedom Rides against segregation in the Jim Crow South. According to one local news report, the Fisk students “were met with hundreds of fellow demonstrators who marched from Public Square Park and swarmed near the Municipal Auditorium just before 6 p.m. The lively crowd chanted, sang, and held signs.” The students sat down in the street at one point, and the police moved in to threaten arrest if they did not move.
A big focus of the protest was opposing Trump’s attacks on immigrants and his Muslim ban. The new version of the Muslim ban was set to go into effect the next day, and a federal judge issued a restraining order temporarily blocking it as the Nashville protest was going on. Among the people’s chants at the protest were “No Trump, No Pence, No Wall, No Fence” and “No Hate, No Fear, Immigrants Are Welcome Here.” Many people also carried signs denouncing Trump’s moves to destroy the health insurance program set up under Obama. The Tennessean described a protester, a retired teacher, who was “worried about the state of public education, health care, and freedom of the press under the Republican agenda.”
New York: Rally and March from Union Square to Times Square
New York City, March 16. Photo: revcom.us
Refuse Fascism, joined by the New York Revolution Club, brought people together on Thursday evening, March 16, to condemn Trump’s Muslim Ban 2.0 and challenge people to become a part of the movement to drive out the Trump/Pence regime. Dozens of protesters and people joining on the spot rallied at Union Square, making a compelling statement to passers-by to recognize that this is a fascist regime; to grasp the urgency of taking action at this historical moment; to condemn the Trump/Pence regime’s new version of the same Muslim ban and step forward to become a part of the movement to drive this regime out. Following the rally, a small but powerful candlelight procession went all the way up Broadway to Times Square.
Thousands of people throughout the evening got flyers about the protest, and an invitation to the teach-in the next night at New York Revolution Books. There was a sense of seriousness about what is taking place in this country conveyed by the NO! posters and two banners, by the speakers and protesters, that repeatedly stopped people in their tracks to check out the rally. One banner read: “NO WALL! NO BAN! NO MASS DEPORTATIONS! NO FASCIST USA!” and the other: “NO! LET IN THE REFUGEES! DRIVE OUT THE FASCIST TRUMP/PENCE REGIME!” Along the bottom of the banners were the original “NO!” posters translated into numerous languages—English, Spanish, French, Arabic, and more—“NO! IN THE NAME OF HUMANITY, WE REFUSE TO ACCEIPT A FASCIST AMERICA!”
Many came over to the rally to listen and to learn, and to convey their own thoughts. An older Black man said he’d gotten a flyer the day before, at a senior center. He said, “A 96-year-old lady told me ‘I’ve been around since Hitler, and Mussolini, and I’m seeing Hitler out here. He’s a very dangerous man.’” The man went on: “I’m seeing Hitler too... he has the ability to start a third world war; I don’t want to see it. If we don’t drive them out, he’s going to bring this country down. My friends feel the same way.” He went over and picked up a NO! sign and joined in.
A college student stopped to listen when she saw what was going on. She’d been a part of protests on her campus, and was “in the process” of trying to figure out what was happening in the country. Another young man emphasized that it won’t do to get rid of Trump, because he saw Pence as even more of a fascist. And a former student who’d been to the protests in DC around the inauguration, and talking with his friends about what is happening, said he had been trying to understand himself why this was happening now. He marched with the procession. And in the end he was anxious to learn more, and was urged to go to refusefascism.org, and to revcom.us to learn more about BA and the revolution. He spoke with a Revolution Club member and exchanged phone numbers.
A member of Refuse Fascism spoke at the rally, followed by Noche Diaz, speaking for the Revolution Club. Noche explained systematically why this is a fascist regime; and that there are millions of people who do not want to live in a fascist America; and who can be the ones who can drive this regime from power. He gave a picture of how this can be done—“But more importantly, this MUST be done. This is not just for ourselves or just one group of people. We are speaking in the name of humanity. Because unlike Hitler and other fascists who came before Donald Trump, this regime has their hands on an arsenal of nuclear weapons that can obliterate the whole future of humanity.” He ended by leading the rally in taking the pledge. No! NO! NO! In the name of humanity we refuse to accept a fascist America. Drive Out the Trump/Pence fascist regime.”
A group from Egyptian Americans for Democracy and Human Rights (EADHR) took part and gave a statement. The speaker had been at the protests in Tahrir Square in Cairo that led to the downfall of Mubarak. He considers himself someone who believes in the ideals of this country, and from that perspective he condemned the Trump regime, asking what message Trump’s wall sends to people of Mexican descent, what message the Muslim ban sends to Muslim-Americans, what message Trump’s anti-women message sends to “our daughters.” He said, “We will not stand by while this administration promotes fear instead of unity.”
At the conclusion of the rally the processional went up Broadway slowly, drawing attention the whole way with its rhythmic drum beat and single, song-like chant: “Drive Them Out, There Are Fascists in the White House.”
March 16, San Francisco—300 Plus Say “No Ban! No Wall! Sanctuary for All!”
“It’s still a Muslim ban.” Over 300 people turned out for a protest rally against Trump’s Muslim Ban 2.0 outside the Federal Building in downtown San Francisco called by the Arab Resource & Organizing Center (AROC) and joined by many other groups including Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus, the National Lawyers Guild-Francisco Bay Area (NLG SF), the ACLU of Northern California, the Alliance of South Asians Taking Action (ASATA), Jewish Voices for Peace, Refuse Fascism and others.
San Francisco, March 16. Photo: @daniel_pace/Twitter
The crowd was energetic, youthful and very diverse, including people whose families came from Syria, Yemen, Palestine, Iran, South Korea, the Philippines, Mexico and Central America. There were documented and undocumented. A definite majority were people not directly impacted by Trump’s Muslim ban, but were there to stand with those who were targeted. Why did people turn out? One white woman wearing a “feminist with a to-do list” button said she was there because she was so angry—and sympathetic. Her friend said “I was at the first protest I was sure going to make this one.” A military vet who had done tours in Iraq and Afghanistan said he’s so sickened by the racist, hateful ethos and values Trump promotes, which don’t in his view represent America and the Constitution, that he quit his job to form a non-profit to give legal aid to those being impacted by the Trump administration. A young Palestinian-American woman said she was there to support everybody, that many populations, especially Muslims, were being targeted by Trump and we all need to come together and resist.
Introducing Refuse Fascism’s analysis triggered questions and discussion—including with those who initially said they agreed Trump’s a fascist (more from a sense of outrage and foreboding than a real understanding of what that meant). How can we be having this rally if there’s fascism? Wouldn’t things have been the same with Hillary Clinton? Haven’t oppressed communities and immigrants been under the gun forever? The idea of driving the Trump/Pence regime out through massive protest and struggle, akin to Tahrir Square or what has recently taken place in South Korea was a whole new concept for most.
The spirit at the rally was to stand with people from around the world—“Freedom to Stay, Freedom to Move, Freedom to Return” was one of the organizer’s slogans. Sentiments were expressed about wanting to continue resisting to stop Trump’s racist anti-Muslim ban—we can’t just win in the courts one of the organizers concluded—he said the only way to defeat this is in the streets.
Washington DC. Photo: @tfkatcher/Twitter
Seattle: “Embrace Our Neighbors”
Seattle, March 16. Photo: @eyes2future/Twitter
From a reader:
In Seattle Thursday evening, an event called “Embrace Our Neighbors: Pray In and Speak Out Against Islamophobia” was hosted at Westlake Park by the Seattle Neighborhood Action Coalition. The event description included this statement: “Regardless of the outcome in the courts, we will gather on Thursday, March 16, to oppose the travel ban and call for action against Islamophobia, racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, etc. We will make clear that ALL are welcome ... in our state and we are united as Americans and Washingtonians and neighbors!”
There were about 100 people there. Speakers included local Muslim, Christian, and Jewish religious leaders, the ACLU, and others. They were standing against the ban and against Islamophobia and generally for justice and fairness for all persons.
A Muslim woman spoke about being assaulted and injured at a bus stop in Everett, Washington, by a man yelling anti-Muslim slurs.
A person supporting Refuse Fascism (RF) spoke, bringing a message that it’s very good Trump’s Muslim ban has been blocked again, at least for now, but this ban is part of his entire fascist program, and he won’t back off. This regime will continue to target Muslims and express contempt for courts and judges. People must resist to ensure that this ban is permanently ended as part of driving out the Trump/Pence Fascist regime! She then led the crowd in taking a pledge to refuse fascism.
Other people supporting Refuse Fascism were there, bringing the message of “NO! We Refuse To Accept a Fascist America” with palm cards, fliers of the RF Call, and “NO” signs in English, Farsi, and Arabic.
After the speakers finished, about two dozen Muslims engaged in group prayer on prayer rugs while the other people stood in an outward facing ring around them as symbolic protection.
The mood was spirited and defiant, and the crowd, overwhelmingly non-Muslim, showed strong support. The event also had strong patriotic elements displayed as part of all this, with the stage including five American flags, and one speaker noting how Muslims had served and died in the U.S. military.
Los Angeles: “No Muslim Ban! No Border Wall!” at Offices of Homeland Security and ICE
From a reader:
No Muslim Ban! No Border Wall! In The Name of Humanity, We Refuse To Accept A Fascist America! Drive the Trump/Pence Regime from Power! On March 16, a group of people in Los Angeles protested Muslim Ban 2.0 at the downtown Federal Building, which houses Homeland Security and ICE. The day before, a federal judge in Hawai’i issued a temporary restraining order and blocked for now Trump’s fascist Executive Order. But to ensure this ban is permanently blocked will require mass political protest and driving this regime from power.
It was a righteous, loud, small but important group of people who came to protest—from Refuse Fascism activists and members of the Revolution Club to people from interfaith religious organizations, Methodist ministers, Catholic Workers, progressive Jewish activists, and others. People from non-profit homeless support networks also participated and young people from Antelope Valley happened on the protest and eagerly joined the event and were anxious to get involved in driving the Trump/Pence regime from power. The event featured NO! banners in English, Spanish, Farsi and Arabic, The group interacted with rush hour traffic, passing out Refuse Fascism’s Call to Action. Some other groups had unfortunately decided to cancel their events at the Federal Building and airport once the federal judge ruled in Hawai’i so it was smaller than it should have been.
City News Service wrote an article on the March 16 action, which was picked up by Patch.com There was radio coverage of the event on the local Pacifica station in Los Angeles, KPFK. A local ABC affiliate and Spanish language channel 62 were at the protest. An ugly, racist group of pro-Trump/Pence xenophobic fascists felt compelled to organize a counter protest across the street from the Federal Building.
Houston: A Wall of Solidarity
Houston. Photo: Special to revcom.us
RefuseFascism in Houston called for the NoBanNoWall protest on March 16th at a busy corner in Houston’s upscale Galleria shopping area. This is a corner that has been a gathering place for protests for many years, and we got a lot of support from cars going by, as well as shouts from some cars, of “Build the Wall.” We built our own kind of wall of solidarity with NO! signs in half a dozen languages, and chanted, “No Hate, No Fear, Immigrants Are Welcome Here!”; “No Ban/No Wall, The Trump Regime Must Fall”; and “No Trump, No Pence, No Fascist USA!”
Cleveland. Photo: Special to revcom.us
About 20 people gathered in front of the Federal Building in response to the call from Refuse Fascism to say NO Muslim Ban! NO Border Wall! We had a big banner, NO! In the Name of Humanity We Refuse To Accept a Fascist America! Among those who came were young high school women, a young Sikh woman we met at the counter-protest to Trump’s “Spirit of America” rally, and a woman we met at one of the recent town hall meeting protests. A few activists who had been at the Federal Building all day to protest Trump’s attacks on health care joined in. There were many NO signs and some had brought hand-made signs like “Sikh and Tired of Islamophobia No Muslim Ban” and “Is the U.S. only for white Christians?”
Everyone took up the chant “IN THE NAME OF HUMANITY...We Refuse to Accept a Fascist America” with enthusiasm. When someone challenged everybody there with the urgent need for each of us to do things we’ve never done before to bring forward the millions to drive out the Trump/Pence regime, and called on people to become organizers, to organize others, to organize others....at first everyone was quiet. Then a white man about 50 years old stepped to the bullhorn and spoke about how he was in the military for years and saw the horrible conditions that people in different parts of the world live in, and how they are not our “enemies” but just want to live their lives and raise their families safely like people here. He said he is totally against the Muslim ban and everything Trump stands for. An older Jewish woman said that she sees lots of different groups protesting, but Refuse Fascism is the only one she has found that calls out Trump/Pence as fascist. With the experience of living through the Hitler era, she knows it’s important that Refuse Fascism is “calling a spade a spade,” so she felt she had to come to the protest. A young Sikh woman exposed and denounced the violent attacks on Muslim people and on those who “look Muslim” by thugs being unleashed by Trump.
People continued to talk as the protest wound down. Many spoke bitterness at the Democrats for not standing up to the regime. High school women took bundles of NO! posters in English and Spanish to distribute in their school.
Atlanta. Photo: Special to revcom.us
Atlanta Car Caravan
From a reader:
Today Refuse Fascism Atlanta drove a caravan through downtown Atlanta and to the airport. As we drove through the domestic and international terminals, we chanted "No Muslim Ban! No Border Wall! No fascist USA!" Definitely had an impact and was covered by several local news outlets.
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