Protesters return to Grand Rapids airport

Posted at 4:57 PM, Feb 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-06 00:22:15-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- For the second straight weekend, protesters gathered at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport on Sunday afternoon.

The rally was conducted against President Trump's immigration executive order. The order, issued on Jan. 31, temporarily banned residents of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. for 90 days, all refugees for 120 days and indefinitely halted refugees from Syria.

On Saturday, a federal judge in Seattle, Wash., placed a temporary hold on the President's executive order. Early Sunday, the Ninth Circuit Court denied an immediate emergency motion request on the travel ban.

On Sunday, protesters were demonstrating without a permit.

"It's just a matter of collaborating together," said Tara Hernandez, communications manager for For Airport. "Unfortunately, it's a little disappointing they didn't approach us this time. We were in communication with the group and the organizers reached out and said 'We're not filing a permit, we don't care'. It's disappointing on our end when we're trying to work with somebody and be good patriots and work together and they're still unwilling to do that."

It was a smaller crowd compared to last week, but they were still making their voices heard by letting everyone know they don't stand with President Trump's executive order on immigration.

"I just feel like the Muslim community needs to be recognized here and we need to have our justice and I feel like we shouldn't ostracize anyone for their beliefs or their race," said Inayah Hakem.

"We came to America for freedom and if somebody bars us from that we can do protests like this, we can do marches like this just like Martin Luther King Jr. did," said 12 year old Fatima Munye.

Airport police handled the protest on Sunday, with help from the Kent County Sheriff's Department, Grand Rapids Police and Michigan State Police to make sure the demonstrations didn't interrupt airport operations.

"We want to work with us and it makes it easier for both sides," said Hernandez. "It makes if easier if you care about a good cause, we understand that, but you should care about your community and want to work with them."

But not everyone was there to picket. Some were there to express their support for President Trump's order and speak out against those gathering at airports to protest the Commander in Chief.

"They want to block me out!," said the unnamed protester. "Everybody is clueless."

While hundreds voiced frustrations on Sunday some of the common words used were 'Peace and Unity'.

"I just wish everybody could recognize that we want peace and no matter what stereotypes are out there about Muslim people and the Muslim community, we just want to overpower the stereotypes and have the community recognize us as a peaceful and nonviolent religion," said Hakem.

"I just hope that President Trump will listen to the people and take their concern in regard to his policies," said Houssam Attal.

Representatives from Ford Airport tell Fox 17 they have plans in place in case these protests continue in the future. Officers from Grand Rapids Police also tell Fox 17 the protesters could've been forced to leave because they were without a permit and were blocking lanes of traffic, but because it was airport police in charge of operations, that department allowed them to stay.