Arrest of two black men at Starbucks for ‘trespassing’ sparks protests


About two dozen chanting protesters have entered a Philadelphia Starbucks where two black men were arrested after store employees called 911 to say the men were trespassing. The protesters moved to the front counter shortly after 7 am on Monday and chanted “Starbucks coffee is anti-black” and “We are gonna shut you down”.

“We don’t want this Starbucks to make any money today. That’s our goal,” said Abdul-Aliy Muhammad, one of the protest’s organizers and co-founder of the Black and Brown Workers Collective.

The protesters gathered outside the store in the pouring rain before 7am, while inside it looked like business as usual. However, most people drinking coffee at the tables were regional leaders for the company’s corporate side. Just before 7.30am, the protesters moved inside and stood in front of the counter, some holding banners reading “End Stop and Frisk,” chanting slogans like, “A whole lot of racism, a whole lot of crap, Starbucks coffee is anti-black.”

Speeches decried police brutality and gentrification. Starbucks regional vice president Camille Hymes attempted to talk to the protesters, but was shouted down. Over the weekend, demonstrators called for the firing of the employee who had contacted police, who arrested the men on Thursday. Officials have said police officers were told the men had asked to use the store’s restroom but were denied because they had not bought anything and they refused to leave. Police have not released the names of the men who were arrested and later released after the district attorney’s office said there was lack of evidence that a crime had been committed.(theguardian)…[+]