20 arrested in Williston as hundreds protest US immigration policy

Local News

WILLISTON, Vt.– Police say 20 people were arrested Sunday following a rally in Williston to protest immigration detention centers and the Trump Administration’s family separation policy at the US-Mexico border.

The protesters also demanded Vermont law enforcement agencies cease cooperating with federal immigration officials.

“People are outraged,” said Rachel Siegel, executive director of the Peace & Justice Center. “People are ready to take to the streets, people want to take action and this is an action they can take.” 

The group marched down Harvest Lane in Williston before positioning themselves outside the Immigration & Custom Enforcement building, where they stood in solidarity with those being held in detention camps. 

After the rally, some protesters blocked Harvest Lane, which led to the arrests.

“The acceptance level nationally of like ‘oh this is okay as long as it’s not us’, that’s how fascism thrives,” said Jessica Williams, one protestor.

Beverly Little Thunder said undocumented farm workers in Vermont have become a target for deportation. 

“I want this to be a place where they feel welcome, where they’re not afraid to go into the store or bring their kids to school,” Little Thunder said. 

A few counter-protesters were also on the scene, promoting their own message of solidarity — with federal immigration officials..  

“We’re patriots, we’re very tired of the bashing of all law enforcement,” said John Virginio of Lincoln. “Particularly the immigration related people like ICE and border patrol who risk their lives every day to enforce the laws of our country.”

More than 60 local organizations were represented among Sunday’s protesters. 

Those arrested were identified as:

Cooper T. Smith, 20, of Quechee, VT; Laura A. McCormick, 56, of Shelburne, VT; Ze Eva L. Chasan, 28, of Burlington, VT; Birch McGee-Lane, 21, of Burlington, VT;

Julia C. Megan, 22, of Colchester, VT; Cobalt A. Tolbert, 25, of Burlington, VT; Scarlett O. Moore, 20, of Burlington, VT; Alexander C. Smith, 20, of Burlington, VT;

Catherine R. Bock, 70, of Charlotte, VT; Laura L. Chapman, 42, of Putney, VT; Mackenzie L. Murdoch, 19, of Burlington, VT; Brian T. Byrnes, 60, of Shoreham, VT;

Julie A. Conason, 61, of Salisbury, VT; Joanna Colwell, 51, of Middlebury, VT; Alec H. Fleischer, 22, of New York, NY; Karlyn G. Ellis, 20, of Bennington, VT; Nicolas J. Plume, 21, of Middlebury, VT

Julie C. Macuga, 27, of Burlington, VT; Anna E. McAneny, 22, of Burlington, VT; Zoe M. Albion, 21, of Burlington, VT.

They are due in court Aug. 13 on charges of disorderly conduct.

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