Thousands march in Chicago to protest family separation: ‘This can’t happen’

Activists demonstrate as a group of US mayors hold a press conference outside the holding facility for immigrant

Activists demonstrate as a group of US mayors hold a press conference outside the holding facility for immigrant

"I didn't like the sight or the feeling of families being separated".

That passion is heartening for the broader anti-Trump coalition, which hopes the weekend marches will attract people who have otherwise been on the sidelines, said David S. Meyer, a political science professor at the University of California, Irvine, who has authored books on USA political protest.

The Women's March demonstration is part of a wave of actions against Trump, whose administration began seeking in May to prosecute all adults who cross the border without authorization.

There are 2,047 children that must be placed in the same facility as their parents within the next two to four weeks.

White House chief of staff John Kelly has argued that child separations act as a "deterrent" to prevent families from crossing.

Much of the uproar over the separation policy came after news organisations reported children being held in cells, converted warehouses and desert tents around the country. The massive demonstration was aimed at sending a message about the Trump administration's zero-tolerance immigration policy that separated children from their families at the border. In Chicago, thousands gathered to march toward the local offices of federal immigration authorities.

But according to a statement from the protest's organizers, these developments do not signify victory.

"It's upsetting. Families being separated, children in cages", said Emilia Ramos, a cleaner in the district, fighting tears at the rally.

"We cannot slow down now since the court ruling alone isn't enough and could be overturned", the movement's website says.

When and where are the protests?

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Thousands dressed in white and gathered early Saturday morning in sweltering 90-degree heat in Lafayette Park across from the White House in what was expected to be the largest of the day's protests. MoveOn.org estimated tens of thousands to rally in the nation's capital.

"So I just got arrested with a group of, I don't know exactly how many, but over 500 women, at least 500 women, who took over the Center of the Heart Senate Building", she stated. See the list here. Other famous names who attended the event include Eugenio Derbez, Laverne Cox and rapper Taboo.

"We chanted and sang and talked about the need to reunite these families and to end the President's zero-tolerance policy".

Lead organisers of the march include the American Civil Liberties Union, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and the National Domestic Workers Alliance.

See the full list of organizations here. "When children are held in government custody apart from their primary caregivers for long periods, they suffer profound and long-lasting injury", reads the lawsuit cited by Buzzfeed.

Sarah Battles is a young mother and brought her 20-month-old daughter to participate in the Raleigh protest.

Demonstrators are taking to the streets of Washington, D.C., and cities across the nation Saturday to call on Trump to "permanently end the separation of kids from their parents".

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