Over 1,000 bodegas and restaurants in New York City, owned by Yemeni Americans, closed their doors for several hours yesterday in a move that the organisers said was as a protest against US President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.
Customers who usually rely on the stores for their daily staples had to look elsewhere for lunch after more than 1,000 bodegas closed their doors from noon to 08:00pm local time in a move coordinated by groups including the Muslim Community Network and the Yemeni American Community.
Sulaiman Alaodyi, a 24-year-old working at a bodega in the Bronx said: “We want to send the message that we are here.” This was the first time since he started working at the bodega nine months ago that the bodega had closed its doors, as it is usually open around the clock, according to Reuters.
The protests started after Trump’s administration made a decision to put a four-month hold on letting refugees into the United States and to temporarily ban travellers from Yemen, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan and Somalia.
The decision, which has been dubbed the “Muslim Ban” in the media and is being challenged in US courts, left some travellers stranded at airports. This provoked outrage and anger from immigrants, refugees and their supporters.
Many immigrants from Yemen, a country of about 24 million, live in New York. Many of them live in Brooklyn, but some live in Manhattan, Queens and the Bronx.