AU demonstrators gather to support international community in peaceful protest

AU demonstrators gather to support international community in peaceful protest

AUBURN, AL (WTVM) - A peaceful protest on President Trump's temporary immigration ban brought hundreds of demonstrators to Auburn University's campus.

Each year, more than 900 students and 300 scholars from over 80 nations are learning and teaching at the university.

Organizers said they didn't want to focus on President Trump, but rather show solidarity with Auburn's international community.

AU president Jay Gouge has stated Auburn is an international university committed to inclusion and diversity. He says students, faculty, and staff from all backgrounds strengthen AU's campus.

On Thursday, students and members of the community continued spreading his message.

"We are leading a protest today on the unconstitutional ban on immigrants entering the United States from seven Middle Eastern countries and we just want to promote this is for peace we believe America is built on immigrants," said Christine Cameron, Organizer of Auburn Protest for Peace.

Auburn resident Kristen Hinnant brought her baby boy to the protest.

"Right now I am hanging out with this guy and trying to raise him to be a kind consciousness human being because I want him to know when he grows up that his parents stood up and said something when things started going wrong in this country," said Hinnant.

Cameron says the inspiration behind organizing the march on campus came about when she learned her friend would not see his family for his graduation at Auburn.

"Well I was speaking to a friend of mine who is originally from Iran and he is graduating and his father can't come over for his graduation so when it impacted someone I know, I knew I had to do something," Cameron said.

Mohammad Menati, President of Iranian Association and a Ph.D. student at Auburn in physics, says another march will be held by his group next Thursday.

Menati says he loves the United States. He's been in Auburn four years and says he's acted as an ambassador for the United States, telling his friends and family how wonderful America is.

He says President Trumps ban has made him cautious.

"When we moved to the United States we already thought America was great, and Auburn University and United States in general has treated us in a perfect way and we shared that kind of like peaceful ambassadors, but now we feel unwelcome and unwanted," Menati said.

"Everybody here has different stances on President Trump and that is fine," Cameron said. 'We are just here to show our international students they are welcome here and in the states."

AU is advising international students and teachers from the seven countries impacted to not leave the United States.

Students from other countries not listed on the temporary ban are also urged to restrict travel just in case more countries are added to the list.

WTVM's Brandon Etheredge was also at the protest. You can view his photos here.

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