San Francisco March and Rally Against Trump’s Muslim Ban 2.0
March 13, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
From NorCal Refuse Fascism organizers
Photos: Special to revcom.us
Front of the march, San Francisco, March 10.
San Francisco: A Friday protest against Trump’s Muslim Ban 2.0, led by #YemenisAGAINSTMuslimBan, marshaled a powerful presence from the local Yemeni community. Over 200 people met at City Hall for a press conference, including San Francisco elected officials, and an open-air Friday sermon (khutbah) and prayer service. Then a lively march took off chanting into the streets and marched to the Federal Building for a rally.
We were excited and moved to see so many young and old Yemenis and Yemeni-Americans marching to denounce the new Muslim ban. Some have come from Yemen recently, others emigrated decades ago, but almost all have ties to family and friends still there. Long before Trump’s first bombing in January, which slaughtered dozens (mostly civilians), Yemen has been under the murderous U.S. military campaign launched during Bush’s “War on Terror” and continued under Obama. Since 2002 U.S. drone strikes and covert operations have killed over 1,000 people, and it is U.S. backing that has enabled Saudi Arabia’s savage bombing campaign that’s produced most of Yemen’s 10,000 war-related civilian casualties. The U.S. also fully supports the Saudi blockade that has over 12 million Yemenis at the brink of mass starvation. For Yemen to now be among those targeted by Trump’s “travel ban” (in reality a Muslim ban) is part of further heightening oppression on top of the already towering crimes of the U.S. against the Yemeni people and the region as a whole.
The protest on Friday was not about the war in Yemen; it united diverse forces in the Yemeni community to oppose the refugee ban. This was important because many people and groups did not respond to the Muslim Ban 2.0 with immediate protest and resistance, often reasoning that this second ban will only go into effect on March 16. To their credit, #YemenisAGAINSTMuslimBan thought it was wrong to wait for March 16. People are alarmed at the prospects of where things will go under Trump for not only themselves but for other communities.
Our NO! picket signs in English and Arabic all got grabbed up to be carried on the march. And while loudly chanting “No Ban, No Wall—Justice For ALL!” and “Muslim Rights Are HUMAN RIGHTS!” most marchers were also glad to take up boisterous anti-Trump chants hollered out by the youth (“MOVE, Trump! Get out the way, get out the way Trump, get out the way!” and “Hey Hey, Ho Ho, Donald Trump Has Got to Go!”). Our Refuse Fascism contingent was welcomed, and we marched and chanted with the people, spreading the Call as we marched—and we learned how to chant “No Fascist America” in Arabic along the way!
The march filled a lane of Market Street. A lot of drivers and onlookers waved and cheered as it passed. A young woman bicycling past was moved to tears, seeing a group of the very people we’re being told to fear and hate, marching against that fear and hate—she turned her bike around and joined the march all the rest of the way.
At the prayer service, organizers invited Refuse Fascism’s main banner to post up in front and many were snapping photos which hopefully will travel far and wide. We heard the Imam eloquently putting today’s TrumpWorld anti-Muslim xenophobia in the historical context of the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, and Executive Order 9066 which locked up 120,000 Japanese and Japanese-Americans in concentration camps. And he sharply called on Yemenis and all Muslims to fight injustice not just to defend their own lives and rights, but to stand together for all others too.
At the Federal Building rally, speakers included Yemeni community leaders, a former local mayor, representatives from Refuse Fascism and World Can’t Wait.
One striking not good fact about this demonstration was the almost total absence of marchers who were not Yemeni themselves. The only non-Yemenis were the Refuse Fascism contingent and a sprinkling of other activists. Many more people who aren’t themselves Middle Eastern should have been there too.
The refugee ban is part of a whole fascist program that will not go away until the Trump/Pence regime is ousted from power. It was very significant that Yemenis and others had the determination and courage to march to oppose it, and much more of this is needed.
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