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City of Refuge: African coalition stages refugee encampment in protest of Trump immigration policies

Protesters demand reversal of the travel ban and preservation of asylum programs.

Tents began to pop up Tuesday morning in the cemetery at Trinity Church as people hurried into downtown offices. A quick glance would give the impression that the churchwas accepting refugees.

That’s exactly what a coalition of refugee advocates, protesting President Donald Trump’s immigration policies, wanted it to look like.

The “City of Refuge” is a 24-hour action that includes an overnight campout, two marches, teach-ins and interfaith services intended to bring the African refugee crisis into close view.

The action began with protesters carrying life rafts from the Trump Building at 40 Wall Street to the encampment at Trinity Church at 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

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“A lot of refugees cross on rafts more flimsy than what we have. Many drown. It’s heartbreaking,” Amaha Kassa, director of African Communities Together told Metro.

“Forty percent of the African population in this country came here as refugees,” he said.

Organizers expected 28 tents would be up by Tuesday night.

The coalition’s demands include reversal of Trump’s travel ban, defense of asylum programs and saving protected status programs that cover tens of thousands of immigrants in the U.S.

A number of programs will take place through the evening, and the action will conclude with another life-raft march at 10 a.m. Wednesday to the African Burial Ground on Reade Street that stops in front of Federal Plaza.

 
 
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