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Crowds In Boston Protest Immigration Ban

LOURDES GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Protesters have organized in several cities around the country and at airports to express opposition to President Trump's executive order. At Dulles International Airport in Virginia, at least 63 people have been detained. NPR's Hansi Lo Wang spoke to one of the protesters who is demanding their release. This is Beverly Harrison (ph).

BEVERLY HARRISON: I'm angry that our country is being taken over by Trump and that the world is going to think this is who we are. And this is not my America, and I want to protect it and I want people to know that they're welcome here.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: And in Boston, hundreds of demonstrators are gathering now. We have WBUR's Jack Lepiarz on the line. Hi.

JACK LEPIARZ, BYLINE: Hello there.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So describe the scene for us. What are you seeing there?

LEPIARZ: Well, the Copley Square, which is in downtown Boston, is absolutely packed right now. You said hundreds. There may be thousands now. It's about the size of a football field, and it is completely packed there. Up at the front, there are a couple of people holding up a big sign that says no Muslim ban; other people holding up signs saying immigrants make America great. Another person said - has a sign that says, quote, "at first they came for the Muslims and this Jew says never again."

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Tell us about some of the people you've spoken to. Why did they show up for this?

LEPIARZ: Well, a lot of people say they just had a sort of visceral reaction to when they heard the news either Friday or Saturday. They say, you know, this is something where they sort of draw the line as far as their American values, what they see as, you know - one of the values of America is diversity. And they want to come out and say that they do not support this, that they believe that people who are green card holders, people who are students in the school, people who are trying to bring skills to the U.S., they don't want them to be kept out. And at the same time, they believe that, you know, if it's a refugee coming from Iraq or Syria, they should have that opportunity to come to the U.S. And they said there shouldn't be a blanket ban on immigrants entering this country.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Practically speaking, what are they asking for? What do they think - what effect do they think they can have?

LEPIARZ: That's a murkier question. I've asked a couple of them, and the response right now is, you know, they want this policy scrapped. But as far as what to do next, a lot of them say it may just be any time there is this kind of policy or a policy they don't agree with, they say there needs to be more protests like this, demonstrations like this, where there's almost a show of force, as one woman said, where you can get the bodies out there and tell people who are in office that this is not OK.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: WBUR's Jack Lepiarz in Boston, thank you so much.

LEPIARZ: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.