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Dueling Protests In Hartford Over Accepting Syrian Refugees

Credit Johnathon Henninger for WSHU
John Matto (right), a Shelton resident, holds a flag with the names of those killed on September 11, 2001. Judith Randall (left), of Trumbull, holds a sign detailing her fears of Sharia Law as they begin a walk to the Governor's Residence after a several hour rally with about 20 people at the Capitol building in downtown Hartford, Conn. on Nov. 28, 2015. A counter-rally with about 200 people sprang up in response to the rally organized by "Connecticut Militia."

Hartford, Connecticut saw dueling groups of protests Saturday over whether to accept Syrian refugees in the state.

More than 200 protesters rallied on one side of the state Capitol lawn, holding signs with messages like “Fear Not” and “Refugees Are Welcome Here.”  

On the other side of the Capitol, about 20 protesters rallied against letting in Syrian refugees. A few held American flags, many wore camouflage clothing.

For a moment, the two sides collided. Two people in favor of accepting Syrian refugees confronted the gathering of protesters against it. Ron Ward, one of the pro-refugee protestors, traded views with Angelia Bulch, an organizer of the protests against.

“If you let ten people into your house, and nine of them are great people, but one of them is a murderer…and you have to play the game of guess which one it is,” Bulch said, “I think that speaks for itself.”

“If I have one apple on the cart that’s going rotten, I don’t throw away the whole cart. I call out the one apple,” Ward responded. “And to say we don’t have a system in place that does that, I think it’s just misstating the facts. I think its hysteria.”

Bulch and others then marched toward the Governor's Residence, an hour away, to demand that Governor Dannel Malloy stop helping Syrian refugees settle in the state.

Meanwhile, members of the pro-refugee contingent collected food and clothing donations for refugee resettlement programs and listened to speeches from Syrian asylum seekers and local activists. 

Kathie is a former editor at WSHU.
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