Muslim citizens grateful for support at Columbia protest
About 600 people gathered Tuesday at the S.C. State House to protest President Donald Trump's executive order that temporarily bans immigration from seven countries.
"Say it loud, say it clear, 'Refugees are welcome here,' " protestors chanted, keeping time with a tambourine, as they stretched out in a line along Gervais Street.
Drivers on that corridor were met with a barrage of chants and signs. A few read "Refugees welcome," "Let them in" and "Y'all means all."
The Columbia gathering was the latest in reaction to Trump's order that temporarily halts refugee resettlement and bars residents of seven predominately Muslim countries from entering the United States.
In the wake of that order, S.C. colleges are advising international students from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen not to leave the United States.
"We're here to say these policies have nothing to do with national security," said David Matos, president of the Carolina Peace Resource Center, which organized the event. "They have everything to do with fear-mongering, ignorance and hate."
However, not everyone is protesting.
Many GOP officials, including some some S.C. congressmen, fault the order's bumpy roll out but say more vetting of refugees is necessary to protect Americans from terrorism.
Some Columbia-area residents agree.
"The executive order, I'm all for," said Mike Pazery, a 73-year-old nuclear contractor from Cayce. "It's about time somebody put the American people first."
Pazery said he has grown frustrated at some of the recent protests.
"It's always the same thing from the left," Pazery said. "Anybody that's not with them, they call them racist, misogynists. They call them names."