Hundreds of protesters gathered outside Austin-Bergstrom International Airport on Sunday afternoon to express their opposition to President Donald Trump’s executive order temporarily banning immigrants from several Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.
Airport authorities placed cones in the terminal roadway to separate protesters from traffic, but people and colorful signs quickly filled the blockaded area.
The crowd chanted a number of slogans throughout the rally, including “Trump must go,” and “Say it loud, say it clear, refugees are welcome here.” The crowd also chanted the pledge of allegiance.
Austin City Council Member Greg Casar addressed the crowd and vowed that the council would do all it could to resist Trump’s immigration policies.
As cars drove by, some honked in support, while a few other drivers gave a thumbs-down sign.
The event was organized by Shane Terenzi, who spread the word through Facebook.
“I have Persian-Iranian relatives who are now not allowed to come here,” he said. “My brother, his wife is Persian and they are not allowed to go visit family in Iran. I wanted to do something and stand up.”
He estimated attendance at 300 or 400 people.
The Austin rally was among the protests Sunday at more than 30 U.S. airports, as well as larger protests in Washington, D.C., New York, Philadelphia, Boston and Atlanta.
Officials at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport — where nine people traveling from abroad were detained overnight — said upward of 800 people protested Sunday, with many holding signs and chanting “Let them go!” In Houston, police estimated that more than 1,000 people demonstrated downtown near where Super Bowl events were being held ahead of next weekend’s championship game at NRG Stadium.
Dylan McBride, an 18-year-old protester at the Austin airport, said he didn’t believe Trump to be fit for the office of the president.
“We are here today to raise our voice and say why his plans are so disastrous for this country,” McBride said. “The community of Austin is incredibly diverse — it is part of what America and what democracy looks like.”
Crowd members filtered in throughout the nearly three-hour protest, which included dozens of speakers denouncing the new immigration policies.
Airport officials said the protest did not disrupt airport operations.