Google co-founder Sergey Brin among hundreds protesting Trump order at San Francisco airport

Siavosh Naji-Talakar greets his grandmother, Marzieh Moosavizadeh, 75, at LAX's Tom Bradley International Terminal. She was detained upon arriving from Iran.

Siavosh Naji-Talakar greets his grandmother, Marzieh Moosavizadeh, 75, at LAX’s Tom Bradley International Terminal. She was detained upon arriving from Iran.

(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

Google co-founder Sergey Brin was among hundreds of protesters who converged on San Francisco International Airport on Saturday to speak out against President Trump’s travel ban.

Brin declined to comment on CNN, saying he was there in a personal capacity. He told a Forbes reporter, “I am here because I am a refugee.”

The San Jose Mercury News placed the crowd total at the airport at about 700.


Mozhgan Mostafavi waited inside SFO on Saturday for her 80-year-old father, who was traveling from Iran to have hip surgery and visit with family for his grandson’s birthday. He has a green card and has been here many times, she said, but his plane landed at 1 p.m. and as evening fell he had not emerged.

“I don’t know any Iranians who have been in a terrorist attack,” she said. “It’s so dehumanizing. It’s so insulting. I grew up during the revolution in Iran and I feel that same suffocation. It’s hard to breathe.”

Late Saturday night, an exhausted Abdollah Mostafavi, 80, was released six hours after his flight arrived in San Francisco from Frankfurt, Germany. Pushing a cart with several suitcases and a cane, Mostafavi slowly made his way out of an automatic door being guarded by at least five Customs and Border Protection agents. Four protesters holding signs that read “All Are Welcome Here” stood nearby, smiling. His 8-year-old grandson ran to hug him while his daughter and son-in-law brought him a wheelchair and gave him space.

“I’m so happy he’s finally out. He says he’s very tired,” said Mozhgan Mostafavi, holding back tears, and speaking Farsi with her father.

Five hours after their families landed in a flight from Istanbul, Turkey, relatives of four people from Iran and Syria sat on the airport floor, checking their phones and waiting for their parents to be released.

Stefan Shahen, 44, moved from Syria to California 11 years ago. He was waiting for his 62-year-old mother to be released. She also has a green card and lives in a village near Homs that was recently liberated from extremists by the Syrian government, allowing her to travel.


“I’m for securing the country but not in a stupid way,” said Shahen, who lives in Chico, Calif. “She has a legal permit to stay. She didn’t do anything wrong. It’s against the law to hold her, so why are they doing this?”

San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee issued a statement Saturday night praising U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly in New York for issuing an emergency order temporarily barring the U.S. from deporting people from nations subject to Trump’s travel ban.

“I commend the judge that granted the emergency stay today, allowing Muslim immigrants with valid visas to enter the United States. As the son of Chinese immigrants, I am disgusted by the president’s executive order to target the Muslim community and ban immigrants from entering the United States,” Lee said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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