An eerie protest against the Trump administration played out on the streets of New York this week, where Vice President Mike Pence traveled with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to address a cybersecurity summit.
Dozens of women, dressed like the handmaids from Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel and TV series The Handmaids Tale, gathered in front of Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House, in the city’s Financial District. The event was co-ordinated by the activist group Refuse Fascism.
The handmaid costumes have become a potent element of protests, especially in support of reproductive rights, across the U.S. and around the world in the past year.
Tuesday’s protest was in response to Trump’s now-rescinded family separation policy and the newly created Religious Liberty Task Force announced by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday, the New York Post reported.
At a cybersecurity summit in NY where DHS Sec. Nielsen is speaking, tourists are gawking, and Handmaids are protesting outside. pic.twitter.com/wfPZikaSFi
— Kevin Roose (@kevinroose) July 31, 2018
A statement by Sunsara Taylor, posted on the group’s website said: “Mike Pence is a Christian fascist theocrat for whom the Handmaid’s Tale is a model society: the Bible invoked to force women to bear children against their will, to persecute LGBTQ people, to tear immigrant children from parents. Only by driving the Trump/Pence regime from power through massive, sustained protest can we stop this nightmare.”
Protesters held signs reading “Give back the children you stole” and “Trump/Pence must go!” and laid out children’s shoes on the ground, to symbolize the trauma incurred by separating families at the U.S.-Mexico border. “It’s the torturing of children and it’s being done as a way to intimidate and oppress people,” Emma Kaplan told the Post. “That’s fascist.”
The action attracted a range of women, young and old. “I see how America has changed since Trump’s presidency and how it will continue to keep changing if he has his policies fulfilled,” said 82-year-old Lillian Forman. “We’re losing our liberties, our law protections and our balances. I saw what he did to the kids at the border, and if he can do that to little children — some of them mere babies, literally babies ― he will do anything.”
The rally was also attended by Therese Patricia Okoumou, who scaled the Statue of Liberty on July 4th during a protest against the policies of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency.
Read the full story at HuffPost.