‘No ban! No wall!’ thousands cry at Battery protest

Senator Chuck Schumer angrily decried Donald Trump’s immigration ban at a massive rally at The Battery on Sunday. Photo by Milo Hess

BY DENNIS LYNCH | With America’s most enduring symbol of immigration as a backdrop, more than 10,000 people crowded The Battery on Sunday to protest President Trump’s controversial immigration ban, capping a weekend of demonstrations around the country against Trump’s measure.

Many of the protesters were sporting green foam Statue of Liberty crowns they bought from vendors — whose usual customers are out-of-towners on their way from The Battery to see Lady Liberty. And at least one demonstrator’s sign quoted Emma Lazarus’s famous poem inscribed on the statue’s pedestal: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses… send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me.”

Kids let Trump hear it at the enormous protest. Photo by Milo Hess
Kids had a message for Trump at the enormous protest. Photo by Milo Hess

That sentiment stands in stark contrast to the executive orders Trump signed on Friday that suspended all refugee immigration for 120 days, indefinitely prohibits Syrian refugees from entering the country, and initially banned anyone from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S., including those with permanent resident status. The administration altered the latter provision to allow green card holders to be vetted on a case-by-case basis.

The crowd chanted, “No hate! No fear! Refugees are welcome here!” and “No ban! No wall!” — a message many bore on signs and banners.

Black Bloc-type anarchists joined Sunday’s protest in The Battery against the travel ban. Not surprisingly, the anarchists do not support the concept of national borders. Photo by Q. Sakamaki

A phalanx of Democratic politicians attended the rally, including Mayor Bill de Blasio, Senators Charles Schumer, Kirsten Gillibrand and Cory Booker, and Congressmembers Nydia Velázquez, Jerrold Nadler, Carolyn Maloney, Joe Crowley, Adriano Espalliat and Hakeem Jeffries. They were joined by other city officials and activist leaders.

“I will not rest until these horrible orders are repealed,” Schumer vowed. He credited Saturday’s protests at John F. Kennedy Airport with helping ease restrictions on some visa holders, which allowed dozens of people being held there to enter the country.

“We have made progress for 42 [visa holders],” Schumer said. “But we have to make progress for thousands, and tens of thousands more, and hundreds of thousands more.”

The devil made her do it: Protesting Donald Trump at The Battery on Sunday. Photo by Milo Hess

Schumer, who as Senate minority leader is the most powerful political opponent Trump has in Washington, received a lukewarm welcome from the crowd, in part because he has supported some of the president’s less-controversial cabinet nominees. Some demonstrators chanted, “Oppose the nominees!” following his speech.

After the rally, the crowd marched north to demonstrate in front of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection office at 26 Federal Plaza.