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Hundreds at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport protest Donald Trump’s refugee ban

PHOENIX — At least 500 people gathered at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport to protest President Donald Trump’s executive order banning refugees from certain Muslim countries from entering the United States, Phoenix’s assistant aviation director Deborah Ostreicher told KTAR.

The crowd outside Terminal 4 included church groups, families of diverse ethnic backgrounds, Hispanic and Muslim community activists and immigration attorneys.

Trump signed the executive order Friday barring entry into the U.S. for 120 days by refugees from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and Sudan, and indefinitely from Syria.

A U.S. District Court judge in New York issued a stay Saturday night in response to a motion filed by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Among the protesters in Phoenix were Arizona Congressman Ruben Gallego and Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton.

Ostreicher, who estimated at least 500 protesters had gathered as of Sunday afternoon, said the protest was peaceful and that the group organized after filing for a permit through her office.

“We applaud this group for their peaceful protest, and that enables them to continue on with their activity,” Ostreicher said.

Ostreicher added there is no one group organizing the rally.

“It was a completely peaceful rally that went to show support for the minorities that are affected as well as to stand against the executive orders by Trump’s administration,” said Abdul Manfoukh, president and director of human rights group Us UNITED, one of the groups that put together the rally.

Manfoukh told KTAR the group did not want to cause any problems by protesting at the airport, and the whole point is to get their voices heard while representing minorities that can’t speak. The group hosted another rally a few days ago at Old Main on the Arizona State University campus in Tempe, where about 600 people gathered.

Ostreicher said anyone wanting to exercise their right to protest at Sky Harbor can call the City of Phoenix Aviation Department to file a permit, although it will take a least a day. The department will review the permit and then find a place and agree upon a time and place.

The city of Phoenix, immigration attorneys at the protest and Sky Harbor officials were not aware of any Muslim travelers stopped in Phoenix.

The Associated Press and KTAR’s Julie Levin contributed to this report

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