Thousands attend TN protests onTrump immigration moves

There were protests aimed at President Donald Trump’s moves on refugees and immigration across Tennessee on Wednesday. Stephanie Teatro, a co-director of the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, which organized protests under the title “We All Belong,” tells The Tennessean that 3,500 persons attended the Nashville event, apparently the largest in the state.

Metro police estimated at one point that there were 1,500 demonstrators and said everything went well. The event included translation services in Somali, Arabic and Spanish, as well as voter registration tables.

About 2,000 people came to the Memphis vigil, about 1,500 in Chattanooga, over 1,000 in Knoxville, about 600 in Murfreesboro and 200 in Sewanee, Teatro said.

Here are some other reports on the protests appearing in Tennessee media:

In Murfreesboro, about 500 anti-Trump protesters packed the Rutherford County courthouse grounds while about 70 Trump supporters (“counterprotesters”) – many on motorcycles or driving pickup trucks –circled them, reports the Daily News Journal. Also, WPLN  has a report, including this line: Eventually the protesters started chanting directly at each other. “No hate, no fear,” one side said, as the other interjected, “go Trump, go home.”

From the Johnson City Press: Clustered at the corner of West State of Franklin Road and University Parkway, protesters banded together with signs chanting “no ban, no wall” in defiance of President Donald Trump’s policies on immigration that began to take shape last week. Over the course of 2 1/2 hours, more than 100 people joined with their voices mixing in chants and signs pressing toward the sky. The protest follows the president’s executive order last week that bans refugees and citizens from seven Muslim majority nations. (Story HERE.)

In Chattanooga, Coolidge Park morphed into a sea of candles held by more than a thousand demonstrators who came to protest President Donald Trump’s recent executive order halting refugees from entering the country until late May, reports the Times-Free Press.

 The vigil was organized in partnership with Bridge Refugee Services Inc. as a symbol of solidarity with those affected by the travel ban. Bridge is the sole refugee resettlement nonprofit agency in Chattanooga, and employees said it represents 20 refugees — half of whom are children — from three different countries who were in the final stages of transitioning to their new lives here, but now find themselves waiting until the ban is lifted.

In Memphis, A group of approximately 1,000 people, including immigrants from the Middle East, Mexico and Latin America as well as across various religious faiths, marched Downtown Wednesday, Feb. 1, to protest President Donald Trump’s immigration travel ban order, according to the Memphis Daily News.

The march was from Clayborn Temple, west on Pontotoc Avenue and south on Mulberry Street to the National Civil Rights Museum. Muslims in the march brought prayer mats and prayed in the museum’s courtyard below the balcony where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.

The Commercial Appeal says the crowd was estimated at “close to 2,000” and notes city officials initially refused to grant permit for the march because the required 14-day notice wasn’t provided in time — then changed course and granted the permit.

Perhaps of related interest, the CA sent a reporter to Wayne County, where Trump had his biggest election victory margin in Tennessee (86 percent), and found strong support for the president’s actions. Also, none of the residents interviewed had ever met a Muslim.

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Former Knoxville News Sentinel capitol bureau chief Tom Humphrey writes about Tennessee politics, government, and legislative news.
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