Nine detained at airport bring hundreds of protesters to Dallas

Sakshi Venkatraman, Executive News Editor

DFW AIRPORT – Hundreds of protesters gathered at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport on Saturday night and Sunday morning to speak against President Donald Trump’s recent executive order temporarily blocking immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries.


The order was the cause for the detainment of nine international travelers at DFW on Saturday night. These travelers included a woman over the age of 70 and an 11-month-old-infant.


As soon as news of the detainment broke, residents of the Dallas area rushed to the airport with signs and chants, such as “love, not hate, makes America great” and “no ban, no wall”. The crowd, which swelled to around 800 on Sunday, even sang “This Land Is Your Land” at one point during the protest.


“This is one of the great countries where you can protest without getting arrested or killed protester Diane Line said. “I hope they let these people go, especially the grandma, and hopefully stop the ban. This protest has definitely helped me believe in humanity again.”


The Dallas/Fort Worth chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) released a list of the travelers detained Saturday night. Five of the nine are Iranian, two are Syrian, one is Iraqi and one is Sudanese.


Although not everyone at the demonstration had a personal connection with the detainees, many protesters said they have felt the effects of the ban personally.


“I don’t personally know any detainees,” Islamic School of Irving senior Aisha Tasneem said. “But literally everybody is a friend of a friend. We keep seeing on Twitter that it’s this person’s grandmother or grandfather or niece or aunt. It gets lost in such a big thing where everyone’s chanting, but it all comes down to people.”


The high intensity environment of the protest manifested itself in emotional displays throughout the morning.


“My mom was walking and there was this non-Muslim lady we’ve never seen before and she just burst into tears and started hugging my mom,” Islamic School of Irving senior Adiba Chowdhury said. “Donald Trump can sit there and sign whatever he wants, but turn on the television and he’ll see what the people think.”


Similar protests were sparked at airports around the country, the largest at JFK International Airport in New York.


“We already see so many non-Muslims here and if these people who don’t even have relations to us are willing to come out here and stand up for our rights, we should be willing to do the same,” Tasneem said.


The protesters were released and reunited with their families Sunday afternoon. Some of the travelers were even greeted by Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins with bouquets of white roses.


Follow Sakshi @oompapa1.