The highway to the international arrivals gate at Philadelphia International Airport was backed up with cars at 2 p.m. on Sunday afternoon, but most people weren’t headed to catch flights.
Instead, they sat in the traffic so they could attend one of the nationwide protests against the executive order from President Donald Trump temporarily banning immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries.
Some held signs out of their car windows. One read, “First they came for the Muslims and I said ... not this time motherf**kers.”
By 3:00 p.m., the airport terminal was filled with hundreds of protestors, including several Penn students, chanting, “No wall, no registry, f**k white supremacy,” and “No hate, no fear immigrants are welcome here.”
College senior Frances Patano said she showed up to the protest because Trump’s immigration order “does not reflect us here in the United States.”
She expressed optimism about the number of people who turned out for the protest.
“A lot of people are quick to judge the efficacy of a protest but we’re here to show in numbers just how much we disagree with the administration,” she added.
People took turns speaking into a microphone connected to a loudspeaker in the center of the terminal. Four police officers stood close by.
”This is not a spectator sport. You’re either in it for oppressed minorities, or you’re out,” one woman said at the microphone.
Another woman advised protestors with undocumented immigrant status to protest outside, but asked citizens to stay inside and “make a scene.”
College junior Gabrielle Jackson attended the protests, and said she has a “duty as a Christian to protect those who are most vulnerable.”
The lane outside of the terminal was also packed with people marching slowly and carrying signs. Someone had a drum that they were using to keep time with the chants.
The crowd chanted, “What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!” and “We will not go away, welcome to your every day.”
By 4:30 p.m., police officers blocked the doors into to the airport. They told a reporter on the scene that the protest permit was not for inside. One officer said the protesters would “probably get arrested if they stay too long.”