The Brief: Refugees, Immigration Spur a Weekend of Protests

Posted by Eleanor Dearman and John Reynolds - The Texas Tribune on
Photo by Marjorie Kamys Cote

The Big Conversation

Protesters showed up at the Governor's Mansion on Sunday to register their disapproval of Gov. Greg Abbott's stance against allowing refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria to come to Texas.

"Under the watchful eye of dozens of police, the protesters gathered to criticize what they described as xenophobic and misinformed policies aimed at the war refugees," the Tribune's Jay Root wrote.

“Refugees are not terrorists. They’re escaping the terrorists,” said Syrian-bornNour Al-Ghraowi, an English literature student at the University of Texas at Austin who is in the United States on a student visa. “They are human beings like us.”

This protest came a day after a different set of protesters gathered at the Governor's Mansion to take issue with the governor's stance on immigration.

"Some participated in a three-day, 37-mile march from a federal detention center in Williamson County to downtown Austin. After crossing the Capitol grounds their final stop was the Governor’s Mansion — and the target of their ire was the chief occupant inside," Root wrote.

Activist Montserrat Garibay of Education Austin said, “Greg Abbott, we have a message for you... you don’t have the best interest for Texas and for our country.”

Meanwhile, The Dallas Morning News had a report on gun-holding protesters who gathered outside a mosque in Irving on Saturday.

"A protester with a bandana over his face showed off his AR-15 to traffic. A 20-year-old who wants to join the Army and ban Islam in the United States carried a Remington hunting rifle while his mother held the sign," wrote the News' Avi Selk.

“They’re mostly for self-defense or protection,” (rally organizer DavidWright said, eyeing his 12-gauge. “But I’m not going to lie. We do want to show force. … It would be ridiculous to protest Islam without defending ourselves.”

The gathering provoked a negative reaction from one city councilman who showed up to see what was happening.

“My initial impression was they were using them for intimidation,” (Councilman David)Palmer said. “I doubt that they’d be happy if some of the Muslim churchgoers here showed up at their Christian church, their Baptist church, their Methodist church tomorrow morning with rifles slung over their shoulders.”

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