Middlesex County News

Trump Immigration Policy Ignites Protests in New Brunswick

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Protesters gather on Saturday, Jan. 28. in New Brunswick. Credits: Linda Powell, Central Jersey Coalition Against Endless War, Facebook
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Protesters gather on Saturday, Jan. 28 in New Brunswick. Credits: Linda Powell, Central Jersey Coalition Against Endless War, Facebook
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Protesters gather on Saturday, Jan. 28 in New Brunswick. Credits: Linda Powell, Central Jersey Coalition Against Endless War, Facebook
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A protester holds a sign on Saturday, Jan. 28 in New Brunswick. Credits: Linda Powell, Central Jersey Coalition Against Endless War, Facebook
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Protesters gather on Saturday, Jan. 28 in New Brunswick. Credits: Linda Powell, Central Jersey Coalition Against Endless War, Facebook
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NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — Protesters in New Brunswick this weekend rallied against President Donald Trump’s ban on immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries, joining a resistance movement whose influence has spread across the globe.

More than 120 people took to the corner of Albany and George streets in downtown New Brunswick on Saturday, Jan. 28, to disavow Trump and what they consider to be his anti-Muslim executive order, according to one Facebook user.

“The sound of car horns beeping in support was nearly constant,” a protester named Mark Lesko wrote on Facebook. “In the midst of such darkness in the world, today showed a beacon of light and hope brighter [than] has been seen in a very long time.”

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Photos from the event show people of all ages and backgrounds holding signs with slogans such as “This is not normal,” “Deport Racism” and “Reject Trump Attacks on People + Planet.”

The Central Jersey Coalition Against Endless War organized the “emergency protest,” blasting out an email to its supporters on Friday evening, just as knowledge of Trump’s immigration ban had begun to build.

By noon Saturday, a police news alert pegged the peaceful crowd at around 75 people strong. Photos show men and women dressed in heavy winter coats and hats, chanting and standing before a gray sky.

One protester even outfitted a dog in a jacket, with one attached sign that read “I love all people” and another sign that said Trump is the sole exception.

Demonstrators chanted in both English and Spanish, Lesko wrote on Facebook.

Some passersby also stopped to join the protest, he noted.

A number of groups participated in the rally, including New Labor and the Central Jersey Jewish Voice for Peace.

The protest also focused on the environment and the Standing Rock Sioux’s battle against the Dakota Access Pipeline, according to the organizer. Indeed, some demonstrators carried signs supporting water rights.

Over the weekend, stories flooded the national news media of students, scientists, artists, refugees and others being detained by federal agents in airports from New York and Boston to Seattle and San Francisco. Some of those individuals, according to the news reports, had lived in the U.S. for years or worked with the military as translators in Iraq.

Trump and his administration have defended the temporary travel ban by saying it protects the country by barring Islamic terrorists from gaining entry. The president has said his executive order doesn’t constitute a Muslim ban.

Federal judges have issued stays against the ban. And critics have argued that it unfairly favors people who aren’t Muslim and targets legal U.S. residents with green cards.

The fight against Trump’s ban continued last night at the Reformed Church of Highland Park, where “hundreds” of people of different faiths reportedly held a vigil for immigrants. There, according to organizers, protesters planned to read the executive order, discuss their rights, pray and light candles.

But the outcry in New Brunswick appears far from over.

More than 1,000 people have signed on to attend a protest outside Rutgers University’s Brower Commons dining hall, on College Avenue, at 5 p.m. tomorrow.

Demonstrators who participate in the event, “Rutgers Solidarity #NoBanNoWall,” plan to demand that the college condemn Trump’s immigration ban, create a policy “to protect Muslim students on campus” and address any Muslim students who haven’t been allowed back into the country, according to the organizers.

More than a dozen Rutgers student groups have thrown their weight behind the protest, though organizers have extended the invitation to people who don’t attend or teach at the university.

The event has sparked a good deal of online discussion in which students have debated Trump’s immigration ban, shared news articles and petitions and discussed ideas for signs.

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