Protests seek attention from Super Bowl spotlight
As thousands of football fans descended upon NRG Park on Sunday afternoon, anti-Trump protesters marched from Hermann Park to the site of Super Bowl LI.
The HoustonResists Rally and March gathered at Hermann Park at noon Sunday to demonstrate and express grievances against President Donald Trump before marching roughly two miles down Fannin Street to NRG Park, where they stayed on a barricaded sidewalk for several hours.
The demonstration featured a coalition of causes, including Black Lives Matter, Resist Trump, and elements of the anti-fascist “black bloc.”
One key objection was to Trump’s executive order that temporarily barred refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries entry into the United States.
“I am against racially discriminating against people,” said Elise Gilman, a post-graduate accounting student at UH. “And I’m particularly against a ban based on nationalities of people who cannot enter our borders, particularly for countries we have entered and fought in while trying to make them better. We can’t bomb them and then ban them.”
The U.S. Federal Appeals Court for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco rejected a request by the Justice Department to restore the travel ban early Sunday after a Federal District Court in Seattle blocked the order on Friday.
According to the Washington Post, the travel ban affected around 90,000 people.
“This movement needs support and money. Money is power. I mean, money is how Trump happened,” Gilman said. “I firmly believe that protesting gets us out where politicians can see us, and that’s powerful.”
While most passersby on the sidewalk moved past the demonstration unabatedly, others expressed support for the demonstration by honking their car horns or joining the chants and pumping their fists as they walked toward the stadium entrance. Still, an occasional passerby expressed disdain toward the demonstration.
The protesters were eventually joined by anti-Dakota Access Pipeline protesters, known as water protectors. The movement was dealt a blow Jan. 24 when Trump signed an executive order expediting construction of the pipeline.
“What it comes down to is Native Americans have been suffering for centuries,” said demonstrator Hannah Carrell. “And it’s not even just about the atrocities that are being committed against the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. It’s for people’s rights to drink clean water that isn’t polluted with oil, and it’s about our Earth. Our dependence on fossil fuels needs to be broken.”
Alissa Keselman, who protested several times since Trump’s inauguration, said that she is ready to protest frequently for the next four years.
“I’m here today to protest Donald Trump and his insane policies,” Kesleman said. “And I’ll be ready to protest anything I disagree with. I mean, I’m going to be pretty busy, man.”