3K protesters descend on LAX for 2nd day in opposition of Trump travel ban

ByLeanne Suter and ABC7.com staff KABC logo
Monday, January 30, 2017
3K protester at LAX in opposition to Trump's travel ban
Officials said 3,000 protesters demonstrated at LAX in opposition to President Donald Trump's travel ban.

WESTCHESTER, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Thousands of protesters descended on Los Angeles International for the second day in a row on Sunday, expressing their opposition to President Donald Trump's sweeping immigration order.

Officials estimated nearly 3,000 protesters demonstrated at the Tom Bradley International Terminal, causing disruptions to travelers attempting to enter and leave the airport.

The lower arrivals and upper departures at the Tom Bradley International Terminal were closed and reopened several times due to protesters.

Authorities later negotiated a deal with the protesters that allowed them to block one level at a time for 15 minutes.

The repeated closing and reopening of the roadways created a traffic nightmare for those entering and leaving the airport.

MORE: Protesters create traffic nightmare at LAX

Protesters disrupted traffic to LAX, causing a nightmare situation for those arriving and departing from the busy airport.

Airport staff urged travelers to allow extra time to get to and from LAX due to the protesters. They also urged travelers to contact their airline for flight status.

While protesters shouted outside, family members and friends waited inside for word from people who had arrived at LAX from the seven predominantly Muslim countries whose citizens Trump temporarily barred from entering the United States.

Isam Zabiba and his family were waiting for his wife to arrive from Turkey. She is battling stage 4 breast cancer and was the last of the family set to arrive in the U.S.

"We were coming here to runaway from the terrorists from our country. We have residence here and she has all the legal documents to stay here in the United States," Zabiba explained.

Several attorneys were in the terminal helping those being detained. They offered their services free of charge.

"As attorneys we take an oath to uphold the constitution, so I thought it was my duty as an attorney to come here and try to offer whatever assistance I can," attorney Amy Moskovian said.

"It's disgusting. It's disappointing. I'm very angry," Alen Barkhordari said in an interview inside the terminal, where he had been waiting for his friend since 7 p.m. the previous evening.

Barkhordari, of Glendale, described his friend as a fully vetted refugee, in the middle of processing her permanent citizen paperwork, who has lived and worked in the United States for a year.

MORE: Some Republicans question President Trump's immigration order

She flew home to Iran for a family emergency last month and was detained at the airport after arriving in Los Angeles Saturday night.

"She talked to me three hours ago, just by Facebook Messenger because she doesn't have any phone here, she just used internet," Barkhordari said. "She's crying and she said, 'I don't know what is my future here. Are they going to send me back?'"

Trump issued a terse statement on Twitter early Sunday morning.

"Our country needs strong borders and extreme vetting, NOW," the president wrote. "Look what is happening all over Europe and, indeed, the world - a horrible mess!"

MORE: Trump defends executive order amid widespread protests, says it is 'not a Muslim ban'

U.S. Customs and Border Protection did not disclose the number of people detained at LAX.

"We came here as a refugee because of freedom," Barkhordari said. "So we need freedom, we expect freedom."