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Starbucks to close stores for racial awareness training

The coffee giant will provide racial-bias awareness training for its 175,000 workers.

The closure was announced after two African-American men were arrested in one of its stores for trying to use the bathroom.
The closure was announced after two African-American men were arrested in one of its stores for trying to use the bathroom.

Starbucks will close all 8,000 of its US company-owned stores next month to conduct racial-bias education, it announced Tuesday.

The coffee giant is to shutter its shops on the afternoon of 29 May to train all 175,000 of its employees after two African American men were arrested while waiting at a Philadelphia outlet last Thursday.

Police were called to the store after the men refused to leave after being denied use of the café's bathroom by staff because they hadn't bought anything.

Their arrest took place while they waited for a friend.

Protesters attempted to boycott the café.
Protesters attempted to boycott the café. PA

In the footage, their friend known as Andrew Yaffe asks, "Why they are being arrested?"

A woman can be heard saying "they didn't do anything, I saw the entire thing".

The two men were later released without charge.

The footage has now been viewed more than ten million times leading to demonstrations over the weekend and on Monday, protesters attempted to boycott the café.

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson said: "While this is not limited to Starbucks, we're committed to being a part of the solution.

"Closing our stores for racial bias training is just one step in a journey that requires dedication from every level of our company and partnerships in our local communities."

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