We Went to ‘Families Belong Together’ Protest. Here Are 6 Things We Saw.
Harsh posters and anti-Trump rhetoric characterized the rally in the nation's capitol.
A sea of protesters clad in white from across the nation descended on the White House Saturday to protest President Donald Trump’s immigration policies and the separation of families at the border.
Later, chants like “No justice, no peace” rang out along Constitution Avenue as protesters, led by a police escort, marched from the White House to the Capitol.
We visited the rally for The Daily Signal and spoke with some of the protesters to find out what brought them to Washington on a scorchingly hot Saturday.
1. Fascist and Nazi comparisons.
Many of the protestors compared the situation at the border to fascist regimes and the Holocaust.
“We are both Jewish. I think we are both aware of injustice in many forms and we want to make sure the same thing doesn’t happen again,” said Margaret, a Washington, D.C., resident originally from South Africa, who carried a sign saying that “apartheid and the Holocaust were legal too.”
“What brought me here specifically is that all of my neighbors are terrified. My son’s birthday was significantly smaller this year because people are having to move,” said Rebecca from Sterling, Virginia.
“I see people saying, ‘These are not concentration camps.’ No, they are literally concentration camps. If you look up the definition of what that is and how history progressed, this is how it happens,” she continued, and then added:
When you start dehumanizing people that you think enough people will say, ‘Well, OK, if they want to do due process, then they shouldn’t have broken the law.’ When you think about that statement, it should scare the ever-loving-everything out of you. So, yes, children are being specifically put into concentration camps where you store people specifically because of who they are with the intention of demonizing them as an entire group and normalizing the idea that this can be done to people if you don’t like them.
2. Anti-Trump rhetoric was front and center among the protesters.
First Lady Melania Trump also received criticism.
3. Children were mentioned.
Signs included “My family didn’t cross the border, the border crossed my family,” and an adult holding a sign in front of a toddler that read, “Would you put me in a cage?”
“If a kid, at a critical age is taken away for a month or two, it can cause pain that can last their whole life. I had that experience. I was away for a couple of months during World War II and I still feel the pain 72 years later. It’s just awful,” said Tom Harvey from Rockville, Maryland.
4. There was almost universal agreement about abolishing Immigration and Custom Enforcement.
Many of the protestors held up signs calling for the abolishment of ICE. “We want all of their crimes to stop,” said Jalen from Warrenton, Virginia.“I think it’s important to keep families together and abolish ICE,” said Daniel Vernick of Belmont, Massachusetts.
5. Religious themes were common.
6. Many people held signs demanding that immigrant families be kept together. It was common to see “We care” and “Families Belong Together.”
“I’m here today — I’ve actually been here since Thursday. I participated in the civil disobedience with the Women’s March at the Senate building. We got arrested. And I’m here to stand up for immigrant families. I’m here to stand up for mothers and fathers and children and American decency,” said Juniper Leifer of New Jersey.
The Daily Signal’s Kelsey Harkness also reported live from the scene:
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