About 15 people gathered in front of Old City Hall on Friday afternoon to protest the arrest of at least one individual by Homeland Security Investigations, which is a branch of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE.
The arrest occurred near a housing complex by 2218 Parker St. about 11 a.m. Friday. Protesters waved signs reading slogans such as “Berkeley is sanctuary” and chanted “No Trump, no ICE, Berkeley is a sanctuary” for more than two hours.
“(It is) absolutely unacceptable to have ICE terrorize our community. We want to get ICE out with action and presence,” said Casey Leeds, a UC Berkeley junior.
Leeds emphasized that collective action is important and that without it, people are complicit. She likened the situation in Berkeley to the situation in Germany during World War II, when she said the German citizens were “complicit.”
She added that she heard about the arrests and then the protest through a text network run by the national activist group By Any Means Necessary, or BAMN.
Berkeley City College student Fatemah Saremi said, “Seeing this make the day go by hard — this could easily be me.”
Another viewer, El Cerrito high school junior Katya Bouali, said the U.S. is her home, and that she “wouldn’t survive” in another nation.
Tania Kappner, a member of BAMN, attended the protest after work and handed out flyers detailing how community members can help those targeted in ICE raids. She said she was working to stop ICE from returning to Berkeley.
“We want to run (ICE) out of the community,” said BAMN organizer Yvette Felarca, who was at the protest. “They are not welcome here. Immigrants are welcome here and we will protect them.”