Thousands protest travel ban at Philadelphia International Airport

Monday, January 30, 2017
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Thousands of protesters seemingly shutdown traffic Sunday afternoon around the Philadelphia International Airport.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Chants of defiance filled Terminal A at Philadelphia International Airport Sunday where at one point thousands of outraged protesters gathered to decry President Donald Trump's latest executive order on immigration.

"It's good that people are coming out voicing their concerns," said Adam Accay of South Philadelphia.

Adam Accay's parents were born in Syria. His mother came out to fight for what she says was the America that welcomed her nearly 40 years ago.

"I'm so proud to be an American and we all should be proud and we should never let anything divide us," said Hined Akkeh of South Philadelphia.

The protest kicked off just before 2 this afternoon. Crowds quickly flooded the roads, bringing traffic to a halt for hours on the I-95 airport ramps, causing people to miss their flights.

By late afternoon, protesters confronted dozens of police officers demanding they be let into the airport.

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Protesters at Philadelphia airport in response to President Trump's executive order placing temporary bans on entry into the U.S. of people from 7 Muslim-majority countries.
Thomas J. Nestel III

It was the second protest in two days. Demonstrators say they are speaking out against President Donald Trump's executive order placing temporary bans on entry into the U.S. of people from seven Muslim-majority countries.

Though as the night wore on, some stepped aside and said the message was losing its focus.

"I don't think we are getting anywhere by lumping too many things together and attacking the police. They are here to protect us," said Rachel Street of South Philadelphia.

But police say interactions were largely peaceful. No arrests were made and only one person was cited with disorderly conduct.

"They were very warm to the police and very grateful for the job that we were doing, but I think a lot of people may have lost sight of the fact that there were a lot of innocent people impacted today, who missed flights and weren't able to get to the airport to pick up loved ones," said Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Joe Sullivan.

President Donald Trump released the following statement:

"America is a proud nation of immigrants and we will continue to show compassion to those fleeing oppression, but we will do so while protecting our own citizens and border. America has always been the land of the free and home of the brave. We will keep it free and keep it safe, as the media knows, but refuses to say. My policy is similar to what President Obama did in 2011 when he banned visas for refugees from Iraq for six months. The seven countries named in the Executive Order are the same countries previously identified by the Obama administration as sources of terror. To be clear, 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. There are over 40 different countries worldwide that are majority Muslim that are not affected by this order. We will again be issuing visas to all countries once we are sure we have reviewed and implemented the most secure policies over the next 90 days. I have tremendous feeling for the people involved in this horrific humanitarian crisis in Syria. My first priority will always be to protect and serve our country, but as President I will find ways to help all those who are suffering."