WASHINGTON — Protesters gathered Saturday to support immigrant rights at rallies around the U.S., denouncing President-elect Donald Trump for his anti-immigrant rhetoric and his pledges to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexican border and to crack down on Muslims entering the country.
“We are not going to allow Donald Trump to bury the Statue of Liberty,” Sen. Chris Van Hollen, a Maryland Democrat, told a standing-room-only crowd at historic African-American church in downtown Washington during one of dozens of rallies around the nation.
In Chicago, more than 1,000 people poured into a teachers’ union hall to support immigrant rights and implore one another to fight for those rights against what they fear will be a hostile Trump administration.
Ron Taylor, pastor of a Chicago-area Disciples for Christ Church and executive director of the United Congress of Community and Religious Organizations, told the audience there, “Regardless of what happens in the coming days we know that good will conquer evil and we want to say to each and every one of you, you are not alone.”
In Los Angeles, several hundred people rallied at a downtown Mexican-American cultural center and plaza. Some carried signs saying “Here to Stay” and chanted “Si se puede,” Spanish for “Yes, we can.”
The protests mark the latest chapter in a movement that has evolved since 2006, when more than a million people took to the streets to protest a Republican-backed immigration bill that would have made it a crime to be in the country illegally.
Saturday’s events in in Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Jose, California, and elsewhere took place as thousands participated in a “We Shall Not Be Moved” march and rally in Washington ahead of Monday’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday.
The line to enter Metropolitan AME Church in Washington stretched nearly a city block. People attending included immigrants who lack permission to be in the country and their relatives and supporters. Also present were elected officials, clergy and representatives of labor and women’s groups.
Participants carried signs with messages including “Resist Trump’s Hate” and “Tu, Yo, Todos…