Zuzia Whelan takes to the streets of Dublin alongside crowds protesting President Trump’s travel ban.
On Thursday evening, crowds of people gathered outside the US embassy in Dublin to protest President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration.
On Friday the 27 January, US president Donald Trump signed the ‘Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States’ executive order. Since then, the order has become popularly known as the ‘Muslim travel ban’.
Undeterred by fierce weather, the protesters joined the ranks of many thousands across the United States, and indeed the world, who have rallied for the order to be lifted, and for the Trump administration to soften its line on refugees.
The Dublin protest was organised by the group ‘United Against Racism’, which gathered momentum and followers on Facebook under the slogan ‘No hate, no fear, Muslims are welcome here’.
‘The protest means a lot for Irish people, because no one is immune to Trump’s racism’, said Mehmet Uludag of United Against Racism, and the organiser of the protest. ‘It shows us what happens when hate […] sinks into society from the top’, he added.
When asked what he hoped the outcome of the protest would be, Mr Uludag said he wanted to get people talking, and make people act.
Sarah, a protester and an American living in Ireland said that ‘everything that Trump has done is, to me, very un-American, and doesn’t go with our ideals of acceptance, and it’s a very dangerous kind of rhetoric to be spewing’.
According to the group, the protest was ‘in the spirit of opposition to everything Trump represents and does’.
Colm O’Gorman of Amnesty International said that ‘it’s shocking that we have to be here’.
‘This ban is unlawful – it directly discriminates against people on the basis of their nationality, and that is a grave breach of international human rights law’, he said. ‘We will stand with, and for refugees. We are an emigrant nation’.
David, a protester from Wexford said he was there to ‘support solidarity for Muslim people, and people in America under president Trump who [I don’t feel] was elected in a democratic and fair way.
Farrah, an Iranian American living in Ireland, said she was ‘completely opposed to the policies of the Trump administration’. She said she wanted the protest to motivate people to join groups fighting for an end to direct provision, and to fight discrimination – including in this country.
Sean Egan, a protester from People before Profit, said ‘ this protest could serve as a flashpoint for people to join the anti-Trump movement and the anti direct provision movement.’
Amid vocal assent from those gathered, O’Gorman’s speech went on to describe how the Trump administration would be taking on contraception, gay marriage and abortion rights next.
Accordingly, what began as a protest in solidarity with those marching against the immigration ban, became something much larger on a street in Ballsbridge on Thursday night.
In a sea of picket signs demanding an end to direct provision and racism, there were many calling for Taoiseach Enda Kenny to cancel his annual St Patrick’s Day visit to the US.
Fierce objections were also raised to Donald Trump’s invitation for a state visit to Northern Ireland. The invitation was extended by former First Minister Arlene Foster and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.
The executive order has been implemented at pre-clearance facilities at Dublin, Cork and Shannon airports.
It has suspended access to the United States to persons from seven Muslim majority countries; Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia. Those from Syria have been banned indefinitely.
Since the order has been implemented, many have become displaced between their own countries in conflict, and an America that refuses them entry.
President Trump has told Reuters that this is not a Muslim ban, and that it’s ‘working out very nicely’. The ban has been put in place for 90 days, and is not restricted to those with citizenship of the named countries.
According to the Irish Times, it includes those who were born in these countries, those who are dual-citizens, and even those with family members in one of the named countries.
On March 16, United Against Racism will be rallying once again for an end to direct provision on Dublin’s Central Bank Plaza.
The Dublin protest is one of many ongoing across the world this week and in weeks to come, while the Twitter hashtag #MuslimBan is gaining immense momentum.