Hundreds of activists rallied on Thursday in front of Donald Trump’s hotel in midtown New York City to condemn the Republican 2016 presidential candidate’s call to bar Muslims temporarily from entering the United States.
Chanting “Dump Trump” and “refugees welcome,” the protesters castigated Trump’s comments.
“We are not asking for any favors,” Linda Sarsour of the Arab American Association of New York told the crowd. “We are asking for the basic respect and dignity that we all deserve here in the United States of America.”
Four protesters chanting “Trump is trying to bring us down, targeting people black and brown,” tried to storm a side entrance into the speech at Manhattan’s The Plaza Hotel as security staff pushed them away.
The protesters were affiliated with various Arab-American and Muslim-American groups, as well as groups for racial equality.
One of those protesters, Jorge Gonzalez, fell down a flight of stairs after a hotel security worker pushed him. He said he was uninjured. Another was thrown to the ground in the hotel lobby.
Two reporters from The Associated Press, Jake Pearson and Warren Levinson, were also forcibly removed from the lobby by hotel security. The event, sponsored by the Commonwealth Club, a Pennsylvania Republican group, was closed to the press.
Later in Trump’s speech, about nine other protesters from various advocacy groups stood up to denounce his recent comments to temporarily bar Muslims from entering the U.S., protesters said.
“I’m really frightened by that kind of rhetoric,” said Martha Acklesberg, 69, a member of the group Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, who along with Judith Plaskow, 68, paid to hear Trump speech and then disrupted it in protest.
Trump, said Acklesberg, briefly stopped his speech during their protests and quipped, “when you’re the front runner you get a lot of attention.”
Violence has no place in our political process and should be condemned from all sides.
Donald Trump says a lot of divisive and hateful statements, escalation of tensions may only seem natural. However as a protester, engaging in violence only plays into the hands of Donald Trump and his supporters. It gives them justification for their false sense of being victimized and allows them to paint the opposition as “thugs” and side-step our real and valid arguments.