Departures, Arrivals Temporarily Blocked at LAX International Terminal as Thousands Protest Trump Travel Ban

Thousands of demonstrators chanted, marched and temporarily blocked both the departures and arrivals area of the Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International airport during the second day of peaceful protests against Donald Trump's travel ban Sunday.

Protesters block traffic at LAX, stranding motorists at the Tom Bradley International Terminal on Jan. 29, 2017. (Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Protesters block traffic at LAX, stranding motorists at the Tom Bradley International Terminal on Jan. 29, 2017. (Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

About 8:20 p.m. LAPD Assistant Chief Michel Moore and police officers asked demonstrators who had been blocking traffic on both levels to move to the sidewalk and they did so peacefully.

But as protesters continued to gather at the terminal and block the road, airport officials said they “negotiated a plan” with demonstrators so traffic on the upper and lower roadways would alternate being fully open during 30-minute intervals.

“Demonstrators may block one level at a time for 15 minutes allowing the opposite level to be fully open for 30 minutes and allow traffic to flow,” airport spokesperson Nancy Suey Castles explained in a statement about 10 p.m. “This situation will remain until the demonstrators fully disperse later tonight.”

Demonstrators began gathering for the protest Sunday afternoon and the crowds grew to several thousands.

Traffic was being diverted at World Way West and motorists trying to reach Tom Bradley, terminals 3 or 4 were encouraged by airport officials to drop off or pick up passengers at terminals 2 or 5.

Some airlines were reporting departure delays because flight crews and passengers were having trouble reaching their terminals, according to LAX officials. Travelers were advised to check their flight status and plan ahead.

Traffic at World Way was shut down earlier as protesters chanted "Let them in," and "Love, not hate, makes America great," the Los Angeles Times reported. As protesters marched, police in riot gear confined the crowed to the Tom Bradley terminal. No arrests were reported.

Protesters said they refused to leave until people who have been detained at the airport because of the ban are released, the newspaper reported.

Mohammad Soodmand, who is a legal green card holder from Iran, said he was held at LAX for four hours before being released Sunday.

“I waited with a few other people, after a couple of hours they asked us some questions, they treated us very nice and then they let us go,” he said. He added that he was confused by the new orders.

Protesters enter their second day at LAX on Jan. 29, 2017. (Credit: Genaro Molina/ Los Angeles Times)

Protesters enter their second day at LAX on Jan. 29, 2017. (Credit: Genaro Molina/ Los Angeles Times)

Whitney Davis-Houston, a lawyer who was at the protest, said that US Customs and Border Protection officials also seemed to be confused by the travel ban.

“It doesn’t seem like they know what they’re doing either,” she said. “They’re asking the same questions.”

Ridwan Kahn, who was protesting Sunday, said Trump’s ban might inspire hate toward the United States.

“The people that were banned, that were being pushed out were actually older women in wheelchairs. Those aren’t the types of people that need to be banned to make this country safe again,” he said.

Earlier, Mayor Eric Garcetti addressed the crowd.

“This is un-American, it’s not who we are," Garcetti later told KTLA. "We don’t divide families, we don’t separate each other. We will stand for all people.”

He said he was not going to rest until families affected by the ban are reunited.

Congress members Ted Lieu and Maxine Waters were also among the demonstrators Sunday.

A group of counter protesters, or those supporting Trump's ban, also gathered at the airport, but the demonstrations remained peaceful.

A federal judge in New York on Saturday granted a stay for people who were detained at airports. On Sunday, Reince Priebus, Trump's chief of staff, said green card holders will be allowed into the US, but will likely undergo additional security screening, scaling back on the executive action signed earlier in the week.

Meanwhile protests continued in airports across the country Sunday, including in San Francisco, Seattle and Washington D.C.

 

 

Follow the latest updates on the Trump travel ban here