Travel ban protests held at PDX for second day - KPTV - FOX 12

Travel ban protests held at PDX for second day

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Travelers at Portland International Airport saw protests for the second straight day as hundreds of people rallied against a travel ban that is part of a new immigration plan released by President Donald Trump.

Organizers of the rally said they wanted to hold a peaceful gathering, focused on "standing together as one Human Race."

Protesters began showing up at 2 p.m., and in addition to the many local residents, government officials and community leaders also were involved in the events.

Mark Wyner brought his kids to the rally. He says he wanted to show them what democracy looks like.

"We're a country saying no to other rest of world and when we say no to the rest of the world in that capacity and say, 'you're not welcome here,' then we’re puffing up and we're putting up our fists and that's absolutely not appropriate. That makes America lot less safe than it is today," Wyner said. 

Jasmine Masalmeh’s family came from Syria years ago – a country on the travel ban list.

"I feel offended because I feel like my parents have come here peacefully and they wanted to build a life for us and they sacrificed so much to come here and build a foundation for us … that someone would exclude an entire religion group offends me a lot," she said. 

Masalmeh says she wants to help immigrants and refugees because her parents were in their shoes.

"I hope we can be more accepting, that we can open arms to people who actually need to come here who have come from war-torn countries who don’t know anything but war," Masalmeh said. 

Wyner said, "America is an all-inclusive country. Absolutely 100 percent. Everyone is welcome here, that’s the foundation of this country and that’s why we’re here today."

Early reports indicated that Sunday's protest was even larger than the one that occurred Saturday. Officials with the Port of Portland closed the upper departures roadway for several hours due to the protest.

At one point, a small group began a counter-protest to the main rally before being separated by police from the larger group.

One person was assaulted during Sunday's protest, according to the Port of Portland. The extent of the person's injuries was not clear. 

After some earlier tense moments, the protest had calmed down, with only a handful of protesters remaining at the airport as of about 6:30 p.m.

Just before 7:20 p.m., the airport’s Twitter account said the protesters had left and that operations at the airport were returning to normal. 

The protest Sunday was one of many that happened across the country in response to the new executive orders signed by the president which limit travel from seven countries, regardless if the travelers are legal U.S. residents.

Saturday night a federal judge stayed part of the order, barring the U.S. from deporting people from nations subject to the travel ban.

Still, Trump defended his actions Sunday, issuing a statement focusing on the "extreme vetting" contained in the order.

"We will continue to show compassion to those fleeing oppression, but we will do while protecting our own citizens and voters."

In the statement, the president also said that the ban is not targeting people by religion.

"This is not a Muslim ban, as the media is falsely reporting. This is not about religion -- this is about terror and keeping our country safe."

Trump said his first priority "will always be to protect and serve our country, but as President I will find ways to help all of those who are suffering."

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