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NYC business owners plan massive shutdown to protest Trump travel ban

An American flag is seen next to a closed sign on a business in the Mission District as thousands closed their businesses to protest for immigrant rights May 1, 2006 in San Francisco, California. (Image source: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Hundreds of New York City business owners will close their doors Thursday in protest of President Donald Trump's executive order banning travel to the U.S. from people in seven countries in the Middle East.

The group of Yemeni business owners, who run delis, grocery stores and bodegas throughout the nation's largest city, will lock their doors at noon and remain closed until 8 p.m. Thursday, WNBC-TV reported.

Trump's executive order temporarily bars travel to the U.S. for anyone traveling from Yemen, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Syria. The Obama administration in 2015 designated the seven countries as "areas of concern" because of terrorist activity.

While the business owners will forego profits for eight hours, they decided not to close up shop during morning rush hour, when many New Yorkers stop in at their neighborhood bodegas for a cup of coffee.

“Even when their lives have been turned upside down, they refused to disrupt the lives of the very people they serve daily," Debbie Almontaser, Muslim Community Network board member and rally organizer, said, according to WPIX-TV.

The hundreds of store owners won't just be taking the afternoon and evening off, though.

A rally is slated for 5:15 p.m. outside Brooklyn Borough Hall, where the Yemeni owners will publicly share stories about how the travel ban has personally affected them and their families.

New York City Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union" that Trump's travel ban "goes against our Constitutional values." Then on Wednesday, de Blasio claimed the temporary action is just the "first step."

"I think it's the first step toward a [Muslim] ban. I think it's the first step toward a [Muslim] registry," de Blasio said, the Hill reported.

The hundreds of store owners aren't the first group to strike in protest of Trump's executive order. Members of the New York Taxi Worker Alliance announced Saturday, just one day after the order was issued, that they would not pick up any passengers from John F. Kennedy International Airport for one hour, according to USA Today.

The group said in a tweet that the move was to "stand in solidarity with thousands protesting [the] inhumane & unconstitutional #MuslimBan."


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