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Miami Torch of Friendship rally, ‘Refugees welcome here!’

By Cassia Laham |
November 29, 2015
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Miami protest says “Refugees welcome here!”
Miami protest says “Refugees welcome here!” (Fight Back! News/Staff)

Miami, FL - A spirited group of protesters gathered at the Torch of Friendship in Bayfront Park holding a large banner reading, “Refugees welcome here!” The rally was in response to Florida Governor Rick Scott’s proclamation that he would not allow refugees from the Middle East to resettle in Florida.

Protesters held signs with messages such as, “Florida welcomes refugees,” and, “Welcome the refugees, end the wars.” They were met with sympathetic honks by cars driving along Biscayne Boulevard and thumbs up from people walking by taking photos.

Protest leaders spoke out in both English and Spanish, some explained the U.S. government’s role in creating the refugee crisis. Others demanded that Republican Governor Rick Scott and other politicians should be welcoming the victims of war with open arms. Protesters denounced the Security Against Foreign Enemies (SAFE) bill that recently passed the U.S. House and is now up for a vote in the Senate. The SAFE bill would bar entry to refugees fleeing U.S. wars in the Middle East.

“The rise of ISIS, the group refugees are fleeing from, was a direct result of U.S. wars and occupations,” said Didier Ortiz, one of the organizers of the event. “The Congress that is responsible for those wars is the same Congress that refuses entry to their victims! Politicians are using fear-mongering and hate to try and convince you that refugees are a threat to your safety.”

The rally lasted two hours, with protesters chanting slogans like, “Hey Rick Scott, let’s be clear: Refugees are welcome here!” Local groups POWIR, Black Lives Matter Alliance, and Jewish Voices for Peace endorsed the event.

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