Rally organiser assaulted while handing out flyers, says protester

9:45 am on 8 February 2017

An organiser of an anti-Trump rally in Auckland says she fears Islamaphobia is on the rise after another protester was attacked while handing out flyers.

Protesters at the No Ban, No Wall rally in Auckland.

Protesters at the No Ban, No Wall rally in Auckland. Photo: RNZ / Anusha Bradley

An estimated 1000 people gathered in Auckland's Aotea Square yesterday in a show of support for Muslim migrants in the United States and around the world.

The US president's order preventing people from seven majority-Muslim countries from entering the US for 90 days and putting a 120-day ban on refugees has been met with legal challenges in the United States and protests in many countries.

Some of those who attended the Auckland protest said they feared Islamophobia was on the rise in New Zealand.

One of the speakers, Nisha, said she worried it was becoming more unsafe to be a migrant in New Zealand.

She feared for her safety after one of the main organisers of the rally was assaulted as she handed out flyers for the protest on the street.

"She was held up against the wall by her neck, her tooth was chipped and she needed stitches on her gum. Slurs were yelled at her and she was told to go back to her country."

The woman, originally from Pakistan, was too shaken up by her attack to speak to RNZ.

Nisha, who moved to New Zealand from Sri Lanka 13 years ago, said she felt racism towards migrants had worsened with the rise of Donald Trump in US politics.

"I'm sure that this has always existed but it's just come to the forefront of my attention... increasingly I have become more fearful," she said.

Part of the crowd at the No Ban, No Wall protest.

Part of the crowd at the No Ban, No Wall protest. Photo: RNZ / Anusha Bradley

Most of the protesters told RNZ they believed New Zealand was still a safe and welcoming place to live.

"It's really friendly and they have never turned their face against my head scarf. I feel really supported here," Indian migrant Raihana said.

An Egyptian migrant, May, said she went to the rally to ensure it stayed that way.

"I'm really against what is happening in America and I'm afraid it might stem into New Zealand.

"Even people with green cards are being stopped at American boarders. As an immigrant here, on my passport it still says I'm Egyptian so maybe one day that could be me here."

Donald Trump supporters at the No Ban, No Wall protest in Auckland.

Donald Trump supporters at the No Ban, No Wall protest in Auckland. Photo: RNZ / Anusha Bradley

A handful of Trump supporters were kept from the main crowd by a ring of police.

One, who gave his name as Sam Hyde in reference to the well-known American pro-Trump comedian, said lots of New Zealanders felt the same way he did.

"That's why they called it the silent majority in America. People are afraid to come out in support of Trump because of people like this shouting you down."

He said there were people who supported Donald Trump worldwide and their message was not being spread.

The rally was organised by Aotearoa Against Muslim Ban which said Mr Trump's travel ban was racist and called for Prime Minister Bill English to denounce it as such.

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