Sunday, February 04, 2007


The Reverend Billy Arrested at Astor Place Starbucks

After speaking at the Whole Earth Bakery rally The Reverend Billy of the Church of Stop Shopping and his choir made their way to the cube in Astor Place to speak and sing with the usual religous ferver of the wrongs committed against Ethiopean coffee farmers by Starbucks , the giant , corporate coffee seller .

Starbucks it seems , according to the Reverend , has blocked the Ethiopean government and its coffee farmers from trademarking their ancient and native coffee names such as Sidamo , Harar ,and Yirgacheffe and has taken ownership of at least some of the names for itself to be used as a brand in its own coffee shops .The consequence is that without the ownership of the names as trademarks , marketing of Ethiopean coffees is made more difficult by not having an exclusive hold on their own named ancient and native coffees. Because of this Ethiopean coffee farmers are suffering losses in the market place .

The choir sang as always

After speaking at the cube in Astor Place ,the Reverend takes the fateful steps , lectern on shoulder , across the street to Starbucks and ultimately into the coffee shop itself .

Starbucks staff and NYPD made an attempt to keep the Reverend from speaking inside the coffee shop and as seen above community affairs officer Detective 2nd grade , Jamie Hernandez , tries to talk the Reverend into leaving the premises peacefully . Shortly the Reverend is hustled out of the coffee shop , physically .
Starbucks staff were also not at all tolerant of anyone taking pictures . ....but not to much affect .

The Reverend Billy is hustled out the front door by NYPD .

Outside the Reverend Billy takes a break ,collects his thoughts and will shortly begin again to protest at the front door of the Astor Place Starbucks coffee shop .

A very blonde Starbucks employee requests that the Reverend and his crew move away from the front door of the coffee shop .

While I was changing the full SD memory card in my camera , of course just the right time to re-load , the Reverend Billy of the Church of Stop Shopping was arrested by NYPD for , I believe , blocking pedestrian traffic which I have just been told will amount to a ticket and release Saturday night .

As the Reverend is hauled away in an RMP by NYPD the choir carries on , on its own .

P.S. 5 Feb. 2007 : The charges against Reverend Billy may have been more serious than reported earlier and may have include dissorderly conduct and criminal trespass which are a bit more serious . It is not clear whether Reverend Billy has been released or is being held in central booking downtown .
P.S. 6 Feb. 2007 : Reverend Billy spent 23 hours in the tombs and was released Sunday afternoon . Starbucks will press criminal trepass charges against him .

I would like to thank Mr. Arihood for reporting Starbuck's behavior (as expressed by the protesters) in regard to free trade. Many countries around the world suffer from unimagianble poverty because corporations like Starbucks prevent them from gaining acces to consumers through fair and competetive price. It is wonderful that we consumers become aware of this important issue.
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