Black smoke filled the air as huge trucks sped past a rally Saturday night at Sample Gates. The passengers, who supported President Trump, shouted profanity at protesters.
“It’s OK,” senior Anna Schilling said to the crowd. “They have a tiny-hand complex.”
The group of about 30 protesters was brought together by reports in the Herald-Times and WIUX student radio. The rally marched from Sample Gates to the Monroe County Courthouse in protest against Trump and his restrictions on immigration.
Although the group was prohibited from marching in the road, it took to the sidewalks at a busy time of night and turned heads with their chants “No ban. No wall. U.S. is for us all.” Some onlookers waved their hands in support, while others shouted at them.
Third-year P.hD. student and Iran-native Ali Varamesh was in attendance. He said the worst part about the last few weeks has been watching as nations and entire religious groups are painted as terrorists when he knows so many nice people in them. Although this is the toughest situation he has ever been in, he said the protest brought him encouragement.
“It is such a relief to see how good people are,” Varamesh said. “It’s extraordinary to see how people love each other, how they come and help each other in tough situations, it’s amazing. I can’t think of any better word for it. It’s amazing to see people protesting out there and elsewhere.”
Varamesh said he hasn’t seen his family in three years and doubts he will be able to see them as he planned this summer, but despite this hardship he said he wants to thank the Americans people. He said he greatly appreciates that Americans are standing up for people like himself, he said.
Senior Kelley School of Business student Chris Williams decided to protest. He said he doesn’t know any victims personally, but he created the march anyway because he thought the ban was discriminatory, un-American and disgusting.
He said the march isn’t where the movement ends, but where it begins.
“It’s going to take all types of civil activity to combat the despotism that we are facing,” he said.
Prior to the march, men, women, students, teachers and others rallied by discussing some of the misgivings they had about the current United States government. Beside immigration and racism, they discussed topics such as education, reproductive rights, gay rights and feminism.
Schilling, who was in charge of marketing for the event, said she was happy to see people get out and speak up. She said she wants to encourage people to be actionable rather than express their grievances on Facebook.
She said the march, complete with signs that said “Trump is the Bad Hombre” and “I am a Nasty Woman and I Will Stand Up for My Friends,” hit home for her because she has friends who are affected and because she is a dual-citizen of Bolivia and the U.S. She said she was also showing support for IU professor Babak Seradjeh, who had to cancel a research trip due to the ban.
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