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Hundreds Gather At Kansas City Airport To Protest President Trump's Immigration Order

Andrea Tudhope
KCUR 89.3
In a three-hour demonstration Sunday afternoon, hundreds came together to take a stand against President Donald Trump's recent executive order on immigration.

Hundreds of people gathered at the Kansas City International Airport Sunday afternoon to protest the immigration order signed by President Donald Trump on Friday, which banned refugees and citizens from seven majority Muslim countries from entering the United States.

Among the diverse crowd, there were many Muslim women wearing hijabs. Signs read, "We are all immigrants," and "Deport hate, welcome love."

University of Kansas student Haythem Abouodah came with his mother. They are a Muslim family that lives in Overland Park, Kansas. 

"Most of my family is still stuck in the Middle East, in war zones," Abouodah said. "They would love to come to America."

Credit Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3
KCUR 89.3
Sarah Abuanga is a refugee from Sudan. She's been here 10 years, and considers this country her home. 'America has been a safe-haven for others,' she said. 'Donald Trump is changing this.'

Event organizer Jakob Mangano decided to capitalize on the energy he witnessed at Kansas City's Women's March. After talking with friends in New York protesting at JFK International Airport, Mangano set up a Facebook event page and said the rest took care of itself. 

Officials at the Kansas City International Airport reached out to Mangano through Facebook to discuss security. Airport police barricaded part of the road at the end of Terminal C for the demonstration.

"We have all hands on deck," said aviation director Patrick Klein.

But, Klein said, the event was peaceful as they expected it to be. 

At one point, a group broke out of the demonstration to try to march through Terminal C. In their second attempt, a few in the group started chanting, and airport police formed a wall. There was a standoff, as protesters tried to forge ahead and police resisted.

The standoff dissolved after about 15 minutes, when those remaining with linked arms started chanting, "All cops are killer cops." Lauren Anderson, 24, said they were standing up against militarized police.

Aside from that incident, interactions between police and protesters were cordial. Officers helping people cross the road safely shook hands with demonstrators, and thanked them for coming. One officer cried after a diverse group of women and men asked to take a photo with the airport police.

Towards the end of the protest, Kansas City mayor Sly James made a surprise appearance. He commended the crowd for coming together and resisting.

"These things do need to be resisted," James said. "This is not who we are. I'm proud of you for standing up for what we believe in."

Andrea Tudhope is a reporter and producer for KCUR 89.3. Follow her on Twitter @adtudhope, or email her at andreat@kcur.org.

Andrea Tudhope is an award-winning multimedia journalist based in Kansas City, Missouri. She is currently coordinating producer for America Amplified, a national public media community engagement initiative funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. 
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