Travel ban provokes Peace Arch Park protest

By Stefanie Donahue

The words “May these gates never be closed” inscribed on the Peace Arch monument echoed the sentiment of weekend demonstrators on January 29.

A crowd estimated to be between 500 and 1,000 people flocked to Peace Arch Park for a rally held from 3:30 p.m. to dusk in response to an executive order issued by President Donald Trump. The order halts all refugee admission for 120 days, indefinitely bans Syrian refugees from admission and prohibits individuals from seven Muslim-majority countries – Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen – from entering the country for 90 days. The action spurred nationwide protests after travelers were detained at airports across the U.S.

Representatives from Washington, including congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01), U.S. senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Patty Murray (D-WA) all spoke out against the orders. Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson initiated a lawsuit against the President, the Department of Homeland Security and other high-ranking officials.

“I was feeling really saddened by the orders that were signed last week,” said Bellingham resident Jenn Mason. She helped organizer Jesse Stanton get the word out using Facebook. Nearly 5,000 were invited to join on the event page.

Mason said she’s been a vocal proponent of social justice issues in the past, but the Peace Arch rally was something new. Bellingham City councilmember April Barker and Whatcom County councilmember Todd Donovan attended the event, Mason said.

Another Facebook page, “No Ban, No Wall – U.S.,” announces another Peace Arch demonstration slated for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday, February 5. At press time, about 450 people had been invited to participate.

Photos by Jack Kintner

  1. Giving credit where it’s due, Jenn was the one who really made this happen, I just had the idea and made a Facebook event. It would be much more accurate to call her the organizer and me maybe the instigator. Thanks to everyone who came, and to the state park staff and Blaine police for being so helpful.

  2. Do protests matter? Not according to The Atlantic’s senior editor David Frum. If he’s right, I don’t know what to do. Frum says:
    “While the American political system rests on checks and balances, The U.S. Congress won’t stand in the way of Trump.” 
    “Congress could but it won’t. We have seen the Republicans who hold a majority in both houses of Congress again and again accept things that weeks before they would say are unacceptable because they need Trump to achieve their agenda.”
    “They don’t insist he release his tax return, they don’t insist on divestment of his investments, they do not insist on things that every president since Gerald Ford has had to do.”  
    According to Frum, we’re in a period of democratic deficit around the world and that liberty is threatened in modern times through a process of corruption and deceit.
    “Trump isn’t setting out deliberately to create an autocratic state. He’s not so strategic. He’s setting out to steal. That’s his big goal is to become the richest man in the world abusing the powers of the president.”
    According to Frum, “mass demonstrations like the Women’s March and the protests against the visa ban that restricts travellers from seven Muslim-majority countries actually help Donald Trump.
    “Civil unrest, civil turmoil, is not a challenge to President Trump, it’s a resource for him. He needs to create an image of a polarized country in which people who are against him are somehow alien or anti-system.”
    God help us.

  3. kenneth miaczynski February 5, 2017, 9:41 am

    one he is not my president two here is a person who dodged the draft 5 times does not have a clue about the military. called a sen no hero because he got captured he had gone to rotc but didnt learn much. guess he never read the code of conduct. now if did go to vietnam like i did and got killed he wouldnt have what he has today. i passed out flyers i wrote durning the election i want to send you a copy of that. just need a email. thank you


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