Sunday, December 15, 2002

Starbucks under siege

From Gay City News, New York City.

Queer activists took a stand for Palestinians Thursday, December 12 by sitting down at an Upper West Side Manhatan Starbucks. The group, Queer Resistance for Palestine, took over the boutique coffee shop during lunch to protest Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories.

The group claims that Starbucks CEO Howard Shultz “actively supports the expansion of Israeli settlements on land seized from Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.”

Signs were taped to the store windows and the company’s logo was “slashed” by colored tape while the queer protesters unfolded blankets as if they were about to camp out for the night.

No Starbucks patrons were injured. One demonstrator said, “It was only a lunchtime event.”

Demonstrating their keen media sense, Queer Resistance for Palestine released a statement to the media simultaneously to their demonstration. The group is calling for human rights and pro-democracy groups to join them in an international boycott of the Seattle-based chain.

The group is also angry because Starbucks has announced an expansion in Israel. The company plans to open 20 new coffee bars in the most fought-over country in the world, and zero in the West Bank or Gaza.

“Since the CEO of this company clearly believes it’s okay for one group of people to grab another people’s land and claim a right to it, we’re pretty sure he won’t mind if we just settle down right here in his store,” one protester said.


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