Residents in a Los Angeles neighborhood attempted to shut down a new coffee shop because the owner supports President Donald Trump’s stance on immigration, KCAL-TV reported.
What did they do?
About 30 protesters on held signs, screamed at patrons, and threw feces last Thursday in front of Asher Caffe & Lounge in Boyle Heights, a longstanding Jewish neighborhood that has become mostly Latino, the report states.
Protesters reportedly yelled “these racists have got to go” at patrons. Some of them repeatedly yelled “Shame!” as customers tried to leave the business.
“So what’s the connection?” Israeli-born businessman Asher Shalom, who owns the establishment, told KCAL. “This is what I don’t understand. I’m confused — the connection between Donald Trump and good coffee.”
In a Facebook post, the group Defend Boyle Heights called Shalom “an anti-immigrant Trump-loving gentryfier.”
“They really intensely protested and accosted all the visitors that came to our grand opening event,” said Shalom’s son, David.
“It was very scary,” said Shalom’s daughter, Yael. “There was a lot of people protesting outside wearing masks…and they threw a significant amount of feces at our windows.”
Has this happened before in Boyle Heights?
Defend Boyle Heights also allegedly became aggressive with another coffee shop in town during a 2017 anti-gentrification protest. The group also was accused of protesting an art gallery that led to its closure, KCAL states.
Shalom came to America 30 years ago and is a U.S. citizen, he told the station. Shalom also shared two proclamations honoring him from L.A. City Councilman Jose Huizar and County Supervisor Hilda Solis, both who represent Boyle Heights.
What else occurred?
Days before the grand opening, Shalom reportedly was kicked out of the Boyle Heights Chamber of Commerce over a Facebook post.
A letter from chamber president Jennifer Lahoda mentioned the post that read, “I wish Democrats would fight as hard for Americans, as they do for illegals.”
Such views are “not in line with the values and objectives of the Boyle Heights Chamber of Commerce,” Lahoda said. “Boyle Heights thrives because of our diverse immigrant population — The Chamber will always celebrate and support this fact. We will not support anyone who chooses to conduct themselves in a hateful manner, especially toward members of our community.”
But Shalom denied being hateful or anti-immigrant: “My name is ‘Shalom,’ and I love peace,” he said.
Shalom also pointed out that his businesses employ dozens of people, including immigrants, according to KCAL.