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Thousands Pack Copley Square For Immigration Rally

BOSTON (CBS) -- A protest against President Donald Trump's executive order on immigration was held Sunday afternoon at Boston's Copley Square.

The protest, led by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, began at  1 p.m. at the Khalil Gibran Memorial.

"For over a century, the Statue of Liberty has been a source of pride for our country and a symbol to immigrants that embodied hope and opportunity for those seeking a better life in America," Dr. John Robbins, Executive Director of CAIR-Massachusetts, said in a statement earlier this week. "Today, President Trump took draconian action that plays on religious bigotry and intolerance and closed our boarders to men, women, and children fleeing violence and persecution. The American people are better than a Muslim ban."

MBTA spokesperson Joe Pesaturo said Sunday morning that extra trains would be added to accommodate those going to the protest.

The MBTA said the Copley Square T stop was closed starting at 11:30 a.m. "for public safety reasons." T officials recommended riders use the Arlington or Hynes MBTA stations instead.

The MBTA Transit Police said extra officers were present at Back Bay Station Sunday.

A Muslim prayer took place, and Mayor Marty Walsh addressed the crowd, saying Trump's executive order was a "betrayal of American values."

"The day we turn our backs on immigrants, we turn our back on ourselves," a speaker said.

"No Muslim ban!," the crowd shouted in unison.

"We are not a security threat!," another speaker shouted.

The protest drew in state and city leaders along with dozens of nonprofit organizations, all sharing one core message.

"No hate, no fear, refugees are welcome here!," the crowd chanted.

copley square protest
An aerial view of Sunday afternoon's protest at Copley Square. (Photo credit @DSMELANSKY)

At the rally, several Muslims spoke about the fear they are facing including 27-year-old Isha Kharrubi, who is concerned about her Syrian brother-in-law who's trying to come to the US but is currently stuck in China.

"She's afraid for him to come to the country and be stuck at the airport," Kharrubi told WBZ.

"People don't know if they will be with their loved ones or not. There is a lot of discomfort among thousands across this country and we're overwhelmed," she added.

Early Sunday morning, federal judges ruled in favor of the Massachusetts ACLU to essentially stop Trump's immigration order being carried out at Logan Airport where two UMass Dartmouth professors with legal resident status were detained Saturday afternoon.

"What the White House is doing is wrong. They have no plan and you can't detain people in airports across America who are part of our society," Mayor Walsh told reporters at the rally Sunday.

Isha says this rally gives her hope.

"It's ridiculous that we ban people because of their faith," Kharrubi said.

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