Roughly 1,000 people assembled at the Peace Arch border crossing Sunday afternoon to protest an executive order signed Friday by U.S. President Donald Trump which bans travel into the country by citizens of seven Middle East and North African countries.
Organized by a group of Americans in the state of Washington, the two-hour protest saw many Canadians join in. Protesters gathered near the Peace Arch monument carrying signs condemning Trump and his order, supporting refugees and immigrants to the United States.
While most were American, a number of protesters were from north of the border, displaying Canadian flags and carrying signs welcoming refugees and travellers from the banned nations.
Many drivers sounded their horns and waved in support of the protesters, who chanted “no ban, no wall’ while motorists travelled in both directions across the border.
Trump’s executive order bans entry into the U.S. by citizens and dual-citizens from the Muslim-majority countries of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen for the next 90 days.
Over the weekend, several hundred travellers were told they were not permitted to board a plane headed for the U.S. or found themselves stranded in American airports upon arrival.
There was confusion over whether the ban affected dual-citizens, including Canadian citizens who are also citizens of one of the seven affected nations.
The office of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Saturday the executive order would not affect Canadians who are dual-citizens, and on Sunday morning said all Canadian permanent residents would not be affected.
Earlier in the day at a press conference in Vancouver, religious leaders of several faiths under the banner of Concerned Clergy for Refugees called on Trudeau to act.
“These are refugees that are fleeing war-torn countries, these are immigrants holding valid U.S. visas for travel, these are our brothers and sisters,” Rabbi Dan Moskovitz of Temple Sholom told reporters.