Local crowd joins national push protesting president's travel ban policy

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OMAHA, Neb., (WOWT) -- A crowd assembled Sunday afternoon in Turner Park at Midtown Crossing adding local voice to the national opposition we are seeing to President Trump executive order enforcing travel restrictions.

A federal judge granted an emergency stay Saturday night for citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries who have already arrived in the US but on Sunday morning the Department of Homeland Security issued a statement saying President Donald Trump's travel ban will not affect the overall implementation of the White House executive action.

That triggered another day of protest across the country including the one in Omaha that began early Sunday afternoon. Roughly 1,500 people gathered with signs and wanted their message heard.

"This is not what it means to be an American. It is not what it means to be a Christian, and it really is my faith that brings me here," said rally-goer Kathleen O'Keefe.

A couple refugees addressed the crowd and talked about their own experience of coming to America from Afghanistan and Kenya.

Osman Bhatty told WOWT 6 News his mom is an American citizen. She’s currently visiting family in Pakistan. He's worried about her journey back home.

"I was stunned. I've been stunned at the news before, but the one thing I felt that I haven't felt before was I'm afraid," said Bhatty. "I am concerned because I think that anyone abroad that honestly and unfortunately is Muslim, they would be worried and I'm worried about her safe return.

Others were there to show support Sunday.

"I want people to understand that there are lots and lots of us who care about refugees, who care about the vulnerable, and who are going to push back. We're going to be the voice for the voiceless," said O'Keefe. "For people like myself, being around other people who feel strongly, who feel passionately, it's invigorating. It's inspiring.”

The local crowd came equipped with signs stating "No Hate," and "Facts not Fear."

The American flag flew as hundreds assembled in opposition to the president's actions. The crowd gathered for about an hour. It included words from several speakers on stage. Several hundred people gathered in Lincoln for another protest Sunday afternoon on the steps on the Nebraska capitol building.