About two dozen chanting protesters took over a Starbucks in Philadelphia on Monday, days after two black men were arrested when store employees called 911 to say they were trespassing.
“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 7 a.m., 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 7:30 a.m., the protesters moved inside and stood in front of the counter, some holding banners reading “End Stop and Frisk,” and 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 contacted police, who ended up arresting 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 hadn’t bought anything and they refused to leave.
Police haven’t 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.
On Monday’s Good Morning America on ABC, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson reiterated that the arrests were “reprehensible,” and said he hoped to meet with the men to discuss “a constructive solution.”