Demonstrators streamed into downtown Minneapolis on Tuesday, overflowing the plaza in front of the Federal Courts building and occupying 4th Street to protest President Donald Trump’s recent executive order placing temporary limits on immigration.
Thousands toted signs at the start of the late afternoon rally, which swelled to at least 5,000 by the time they began marching, according to a Minneapolis Police Department estimate.
The demonstration followed two related actions at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport over the weekend. On Sunday, about 1,500 people peacefully protested outside the main terminal for several hours.
As the downtown protesters began to march, authorities shut down traffic on 4th Street and along the route, trapping motorists leaving work, to accommodate the group that alternated calls for Trump’s impeachment with chants supportive of refugees who have moved to Minnesota from countries around the world. No arrests were made.
“President Trump is trying to punish cities,” Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges told the crowd, referring to threats from the administration to withdraw federal funding from cities, such as Minneapolis and St. Paul, that have declared themselves sanctuary cities. She added, “Not on my watch.”
Amid calls of “We must resist,” Jaylani Hussein, executive director of the Minnesota chapter of CAIR, vowed the group will file lawsuits until they can’t anymore. Hussein called the travel ban a ban on all Muslims — an assertion that the Trump administration has denied.
“I am not a foreigner in my own home,” Susana de León, an immigrant rights attorney, declared via megaphone.
After sunset, protesters marched through downtown along Washington and Hennepin avenues, blocking streets and delaying buses and light-rail service while chanting “No ban, no fear, refugees are welcome here.”
Luke Hacker, of Bloomington, carried a 5-foot wooden cross on his shoulder bearing the message: “Jesus was a refugee.” He built the cross Tuesday afternoon specifically for the protest — his first. Hacker, who attends Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul, said he felt compelled to march because recent decisions made in the name of religion struck a chord.
“This is a message to everyone who calls themselves a Christian and [supports] Trump’s message,” he said. “It looks nothing like my religion.”