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Activists, Alderman Plan 'Emergency Protest' Of Travel Ban At O'Hare

An activist speaks outside O’Hare Terminal 5 as part of an impromptu protest Saturday. View Full Caption

Twitter / Sarah Chambers

CHICAGO — Activist groups and elected officials drew hundreds of demonstrators to an “emergency protest” at O’Hare Airport’s international terminal Saturday in response to President Donald Trump’s executive action restricting travel from seven majority-Muslim countries.

Trump’s order, signed on Friday, suspends all U.S. refugee resettlement for 120 days, bars Syrian refugees indefinitely, and blocks travel into the U.S. for 90 days for citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. It will also stop green card holders from those seven countries from entering the U.S. again if they travel abroad.

A Facebook event organizing the protest saw more than a thousand RSVPs within hours of being posted by the Arab American Action Network Saturday afternoon.

Elected leaders at the local, county and state level reported joining in the demonstration. Aldermen Ameya Pawar (47th), Deb Mell (33rd), Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th), Harry Osterman (48th) and John Arena (45th) all attended, according to organizers.

Cook County Board Commissioner Bridget Gainer, who represents a large slice of the city’s North Side, said multiple travelers were detained at the airport Saturday.

More than 100 demonstrators had gathered at O’Hare by the time a press conference began around 6 p.m., participants reported.

Since a swell of protesters gathered at John F. Kennedy Airport late Saturday morning, similar demonstrations have cropped up at international airport terminals around the country, including Dallas, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

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