Protesters occupy Bell Tower; show statement against Trump’s immigration policy

From 12 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 31, over 300 protesters rallied at UC Riverside’s Bell Tower for the “No Ban No Wall” protest in opposition to President Donald J. Trump’s temporary ban on immigrants and refugees entering the United States from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. Protesters also demonstrated against the executive order signed last Wednesday, Jan. 25 by Trump ordering the construction of a wall on the southern border of the United States and Mexico.

Protesters, after hearing from various speakers at the Bell Tower, moved to the flagpole between the Arts Building and Hinderaker to express their anger with the current administration’s executive orders. They then moved to University Village where they blocked traffic on Iowa Avenue and University Avenue by forming a unity circle and holding signs reading, “No Ban No Wall,” “Respect Existence or Expect Resistance” and “If you do not want refugees, then stop creating them.”

The Highlander interviewed students at the protest to present their take on Trump’s policies.

When asked about the minorities of these countries, such as the Yazidis and Kurds, that stand to benefit from Trump’s ban if fully enforced, one student responded, “I personally think it’s unfair. And that should tell you that it’s not a religious thing. I personally feel that it’s a race-oriented type of subject. It’s not a Muslim thing, it’s not a Christian thing. I personally feel that it is a race thing.”

Arman Azedi, a fourth-year sociology major, said that he thinks this ban will not be temporary. “If I had to make a prediction, I would say it’s probably not going to be temporary. As we heard during the campaign, Donald Trump promised to ban Muslims from the United States now this is targeting specific countries but I think there is language in the bill, there’s every indication in statements from the administration that this is not a temporary thing.”

However, some came out to voice their opinion in favor of Trump’s immigration ban and the border wall, even donning “Make America Great Again” hats. Student Alden Gaines, in an interview with ABC7, voiced his support for the ban and wall stating, “We don’t need to let people into this country.” He elaborated saying that though he was a Bernie Sanders supporter, he disagrees with the protester’s platform. He went on to say “the amount of bigotry being shown to conservatives makes me ashamed for my side and I think a lot of the people with extremist social justice views are hurting the left and hurting the communities they claim to protect.”