I was walking through New York’s Astor Place a couple of hours ago and I came across a large protest that was being broken up the NYPD at Tony Rosenthal’s spinning “Alamo” cube sculpture. It turns out that right before I arrived, Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping had invaded the Starbucks across the street and Reverend Billy was arrested and taken to NYPD’s 9th Precinct. I shot a few photos of the aftermath.
The protest had to do with Starbucks’ opposition to Ethiopia’s plan to trademark several types of coffee, including Sidamo, Harar and Yirgacheffe.
Here’s the protest announcement from Reverend Billy’s website:
Let’s dance and exorcise some cash registers! Confront Starbucks for stealing the trademarks of Ethiopia’s ancient coffees, like Sidamo and Harar. Honor the destitute farmers by defeating the $4 latte!
UPDATE 1: Eric H. Brown has great some photos of the protest, including one of Reverend Billing being arrested.
UPDATE 2: Adam Pantozzi has some more photos of the Reverend Billy protest.
UPDATE 3: Jen Chung has more coverage of this story over at Gothamist.
UPDATE 4: Here’s a video of the protest.
UPDATE 5: Reverend Billy returned to the Starbucks on Sunday, February 11th and was re-arrested after attempting to exorcise the Starbucks by performing a “laying on of hands” on the building.
photos by Scott Beale & Eric H. Brown