HARTFORD — Dozens of demonstrators, some of them chained to each other and barrels filled with sand, blocked the doors to a federal courthouse Friday in support of an immigrant from Ecuador who has been living in a church for a year to avoid deportation.
About 60 people joined the rally to demand that Immigration and Customs Enforcement stay the deportation order for Nelson Pinos, 44, and allow him to return home to his family. Protesters sang songs and chanted “Bring Nelson home.”
Police say that they had received a call for the ‘announced protest’. They say around 30 protestors had blocked the Abraham Ribicoff Federal Building at 450 Main Street. Main Street was briefly shut down until police could determine the intentions of the protestors. A small contingent of officers remained at the scene to ensure safety.
Around 10 a.m., the protesters marched peacefully one block north to Hartford City Hall, where they assembled at the Atrium. The group eventually dispersed around 10:30 a.m.
No arrests were made.
Pinos sought sanctuary in a New Haven church after he was ordered to leave the U.S. a few weeks before Christmas last year. A New Haven resident, he has been living in the U.S. illegally since 1992. He is married and the father of three children who are U.S. citizens.
Supporters say his situation has caused psychological harm to his children.
“He’s been living in the U.S. so long,” said Pinos’ friend Jesus Morales Sanchez, who was chained to another protester and a sand barrel. “The amount of suffering this family is going through is cruel and inhumane.”
ICE has an office inside the federal building in Hartford.