Hundreds gather at DIA to protest Trump’s refugee and travel ban

Amal Kassir speaks to about 200 protesters at DIA. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

amal kassir; immigration; refugees; politics; protest; copolitics; rally; dia; denver; colorado; kevinjbeaty;
Amal Kassir speaks to about 200 protesters at DIA. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) amal kassir; immigration; refugees; politics; protest; copolitics; rally; dia; denver; colorado; kevinjbeaty;
Amal Kassir speaks to about 200 protesters at DIA. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

About 200 people went to Denver International Airport Friday evening to protest President Trump’s executive order banning refugees and citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the U.S.

The protest was among many at airports across the country, including international hubs in New York, Chicago and D.C., where both refugees and immigrants were detained.

An Iranian couple and a Syrian mother with a baby were briefly held at DIA, but were eventually allowed to continue on freely. A group of about 20 immigration attorneys were there to assist anyone who might need help.

No one was arrested.

Late Saturday, a federal judge in New York issued an injunction to prevent the deportation of people being detained under the ban.

Below is our coverage from the demonstration.

Protests at DIA, Jan. 28, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) amal kassir; immigration; refugees; politics; protest; copolitics; rally; dia; denver; colorado; kevinjbeaty;
Protests at DIA, Jan. 28, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Organizers are calling for a peaceful, non-violent protest of President Donald Trump’s executive order banning refugees from entering the U.S. this evening at Denver International Airport.

The demonstration began at 5 p.m. and people planning to attend were asked to wear all red, all white or all blue and bring signs that read “I am _[insert identity here]_, and I come in peace.”

Organizers provided signs spelling out the First Amendment word-for-word.

A similar protest has begun at John F. Kennedy International Airport, where people have already been detained.

When asked late Saturday morning if anyone had been detained at Denver’s airport as a result of the president’s order, senior public information officer Heath Montgomery said he was not aware of any incidents.

Update, 1 p.m.: Montgomery said in an email that a protest at the airport requires a permit and that the airport is “happy to talk to any of the organizers about those legal requirements.”

Trump signed an order on Friday stopping refugees from entering the U.S. for 120 days. The order also bans Syrians from entering the country indefinitely and stops citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — from entering the country for 90 days.

1:45 p.m.: Lawyers with the Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network are planning to monitor international arrivals for entry and re-entry issues at 2:30 p.m.

2:30 p.m.: A Facebook event has been created for the demonstration. As of now, more than 380 people have expressed interest.

3:30 p.m.: Organizer Amal Kassir tells Denverite that the purpose of this demonstration is to welcome her Muslim friend Omar, who happened to be flying into DIA from the East Coast today. They will be holding signs that say “Welcome Omar” on one side and have the First Amendment on the other side.

“We are so non-political that we are constitutional,” she said, describing the event as “not even a protest, but a demonstration of welcome” that stands openly against Trump’s order.

We are only dressed in red, white and blue today,” she added. “This is for America. It’s not for anyone else. It’s not for Muslims, it’s not for refugees. It’s not for anybody but America.”

Desiree Winess (left) comforts dismayed Samoah Soulong during protests at DIA, Jan. 28, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) amal kassir; immigration; refugees; politics; protest; copolitics; rally; dia; denver; colorado; kevinjbeaty;
Desiree Winess (left) comforts dismayed Samoah Soulong during protests at DIA, Jan. 28, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

5:20 p.m.: We’re live at the demonstration.

6 p.m.: Kevin estimates about 200 people are there.

Protests at DIA, Jan. 28, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) amal kassir; immigration; refugees; politics; protest; copolitics; rally; dia; denver; colorado; kevinjbeaty;
Protests at DIA, Jan. 28, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Amal Kassir (right) speaks with Jumoke Emery and Amy Emery Brown of Black Lives Matter 5280. Protests at DIA, Jan. 28, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) amal kassir; immigration; refugees; politics; protest; copolitics; rally; dia; denver; colorado; kevinjbeaty;
Amal Kassir (right) speaks with Jumoke Emery and Amy Emery Brown of Black Lives Matter 5280. Protests at DIA, Jan. 28, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

6:15 p.m.: There have been no arrests so far during the demonstration. Police have agreed to let people protest on the plaza by the hotel.

Commander Tony Lopez tells praying protesters that they should use a prayer room upstairs at DIA, Jan. 28, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) amal kassir; immigration; refugees; politics; protest; copolitics; rally; dia; denver; colorado; kevinjbeaty;
Commander Tony Lopez tells praying protesters that they should use a prayer room upstairs at DIA, Jan. 28, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

7 p.m. Kassir addresses the crowd on the open-air plaza.

7:30 p.m. Colorado State Rep. Leslie Herod, who represents House District 8 in Denver, leads the protesters in chants of, “Let them in!”

Protests at DIA, Jan. 28, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) amal kassir; immigration; refugees; politics; protest; copolitics; rally; dia; denver; colorado; kevinjbeaty;
Protests at DIA, Jan. 28, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

8:10 p.m. The crowd has started to disperse. Denver Police Chief Robert White tells Denverite there have been no arrests.

When Kassir told them that a Brooklyn judge had granted a stay, “They cheered for what they had accomplished. Because we did that,” she said, adding, “The work is not over.”

Protests at DIA, Jan. 28, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) amal kassir; immigration; refugees; politics; protest; copolitics; rally; dia; denver; colorado; kevinjbeaty;
Protests at DIA, Jan. 28, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

More reporting from President Trump’s first 100 days

Ashley Dean

Author: Ashley Dean

Ashley Dean covers dining and nightlife, and other odds and ends. She previously covered music and did some copy editing for the Denver Post, the Colorado Daily and the Daily Camera. She's from New York, likes her bourbon straight and has strong opinions about Kanye West. She can be reached at adean@denverite.com, 303-502-2804 or @AshleyDean.