Politics & Government

Pro-refugee rally in Greenville draws hundreds

Several hundred people gathered at One City Plaza in Greenville on Saturday for the No Hate, No Fear, No Ban demonstration in response to President Trump's executive orders on immigration and refugee policies.
Several hundred people gathered at One City Plaza in Greenville on Saturday for the No Hate, No Fear, No Ban demonstration in response to President Trump's executive orders on immigration and refugee policies. Greenville News

Singing "This Land is Your Land," hundreds gathered in downtown Greenville Saturday to protest President Trump's immigration order.

The rally, held at One City Plaza, spilled out onto the street as an estimated 500 people rallied in support of refugees and immigrants one week after the president sought to block people from seven majority-Muslim countries from entering the United States.

"We want America to live up to its ideals," said organizer Johnna Malici. "We are an immigrant country, and we're a country that is strong because of immigration."

The peaceful crowd, organized by the Islamic Society of Greenville, was made up of "people from all walks of life — people of all faiths and people of no faith," Malici said.

That included immigrants and refugees as well as Muslims, college students, Furman professors, a Methodist minister, a Catholic bishop, a Jewish rabbi and a civil rights activist.

Many carried signs, cheering loudly at passing cars or bystanders across the street.

After singing peace songs, the crowd also recited a passage from the Qu'ran that emphasized unity and love.

"Refugees are fleeing homes because of war," Malici said. "They're leaving situations that we can't even possibly fathom, and we should be here for them."

The executive order signed by Trump on Jan. 27 had suspended the entry of all refugees to the U.S. for 120 days, halted admission of refugees from Syria indefinitely and barred entry for three months to residents from the predominantly Muslim countries of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.

A federal judge in Seattle has since issued a nationwide restraining order lifting the ban.

While encouraging, Malici said the judge's decision "doesn't change the fact that this administration is targeting Muslims."

White House officials, meanwhile, said the Department of Justice would be seeking an emergency stay to defend the executive order "at the earliest possible time," according to a release from White House press secretary Sean Spicer.

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