Moscow’s East City Park was once again packed Saturday as hundreds gathered to protest President Donald Trump’s executive order temporarily banning refugees and travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States.
The turnout for the rally, called “Beyond the Ban: Stand with Immigrants” and organized by Palouse ProActive, was smaller than last month’s Women’s March, which saw more than 2,500 people gather at the park to participate in a nationwide rally for women’s rights. Ralliers and protesters estimated Saturday’s crowd to be between 500 and 800 people, all gathered among barely walkable, slush-covered paths to chant, sing and listen to the words of local immigrants.
The crowd heard from Shirin Shahsavand, an Iranian immigrant who said after the rally that she was amazed at the turnout, especially since planning started only one week ago.
Shahsavand said seeing the strong turnout from the community was heartwarming.
“This has been the greatest experience of my life, to be honest with you,” Shahsavand said.
Idaho state Rep. Paulette Jordan, D-Plummer, also showed up later in the rally and thanked the crowd for standing together. She also asked them to fight for sanctuary cities for immigrants, referencing a bill proposed by Rep. Greg Chaney, R-Caldwell, in January that would ban sanctuary cities in Idaho, though none currently exist in the state.
Signs were sprinkled throughout the gathering including some with images of the Statue of Liberty with her head in her hands and others reading “I love my Muslim neighbor” and “Room for all.”
The rally featured to speakers from groups such as Alternatives to Violence of the Palouse, Unity on the Palouse, the Pullman City Council and the Moscow Human Rights Commission, among others. Various speakers read quotes from local immigrants about how the travel ban would affect their lives.
Kimberly Carper of Palouse ProActive said those who read were asked to do so for immigrants who were afraid of becoming targets for speaking themselves.
Hannah Krauss of Palouse ProActive said a few signs reading “Muslims go home now” were scattered on the ground a couple hours before the rally began.
As of the Friday before the event, the ban had been reversed by Seattle Judge James Robert, which ralliers also celebrated Saturday.
Moscow-Pullman Daily News