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Striking New York Cabbies Join Airport Protest Against Trump's Muslim Crackdown

Drivers slam the president's "inhumane and unconstitutional ban."

29/01/2017 12:49 PM AEDT | Updated 29/01/2017 12:49 PM AEDT

New York City cab drivers turned mounting chaos at John F. Kennedy International Airport into even more of a snarl with a strike to protest President Donald Trump’s crackdown on refugees and support travelers trapped by his executive order.

As hundreds of protesters packed the streets outside JFK’s Terminal 4, cabbies stopped whisking people from the airport for an hour on Saturday evening, leaving the taxi line empty and a growing number of frantic travelers scrambling to find alternative transportation.

“We cannot be silent,” the New York Taxi Workers Alliance tweeted. “We go to work to welcome people to a land that once welcomed us. We will not be divided.”

The action was launched after about a dozen travelers were detained at the airport under Trump’s executive order blocking arrivals from seven predominantly Muslim nations. Demonstrators gathered throughout the day to protest the crackdown. The NYTWA called on all cabbies, including Uber drivers, to join them.

A statement from the NYTWA posted on Facebook slammed the “hatred spewed from the bully pulpit.” The union vowed: “Our 19,000-member-strong union stands firmly opposed to Donald Trump’s Muslim ban. As an organization whose membership is largely Muslim, a workforce that’s almost universally immigrant, and a working-class movement that is rooted in the defense of the oppressed, we say no to this inhumane and unconstitutional ban.”

Protests against Trump’s edict shutting out travelers from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen were erupting in airports across the nation on Saturday. Hundreds of protesters gathered at San Francisco International Airport, and police shut down access to one of the airport roads, ABC 7 reported.

One Iraqi man detained at JFK on Friday night was later released. Hameed Khalid Darweesh had worked for the U.S. government for 10 years, including as an interpreter. 

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