A group of right-wing demonstrators protested outside Oakland’s Hasta Muerte Coffee on Sunday morning, waving American flags and chanting pro-Trump and pro-police slogans in response to reports that the cafe had declined to serve a uniformed police officer last month. That officer, later identified as Oakland police Sgt. Robert Trevino, was asked to leave the cafe at 2701 Fruitvale Avenue for “the physical and emotional safety of our customers and ourselves,” per a cafe policy. Under federal law, businesses can refuse to serve any person for any reason (unless the business is discriminating against a protected class).
Protesters Sunday, who reportedly shouted “This is Trump Country” and “Blue Lives Matter,” squared off with customers and supporters of the coffee shop. Hasta Muerte identifies itself as a “ POC, worker-owned coffee shop & radical bookstore,” and while conservatives have lodged attacks against the business on social media and Yelp, the cafe says it’s received an influx of business and donations in support of its mission.
According to reports on Twitter, more than a dozen police officers arrived at the cafe in response to escalating tensions at the protest. Eater SF has reached out to the Oakland Police Department for comment, and details on reports of a scuffle that allegedly involved the use of pepper spray and a Taser.
Update, 2:30 p.m.: “Officers did respond to the location,” according to an OPD representative, but “no police actions were taken.”
Scene outside Oakland's Hasta Muerte coffee after a confrontation this morning between far-right protesters & cafe pic.twitter.com/5VmvaEp78B— Darwin BondGraham (@DarwinBondGraha) March 18, 2018
A protest at Hasta Muerte Coffee shop in Oakland about the anti-police stance the cafe has taken. According to a neighbor, police supporters showed up to demonstrate and were met with opposing protesters. Oakland police were called to calm the situation. pic.twitter.com/6FsGloHqr9— brian yuen (@newsfroggie) March 18, 2018
At noon, the protest dissipated as a dozen of the right-wing demonstrators headed elsewhere — to the Temescal Farmers Market for another protest, this one at a mayoral event for Libby Schaaf. Mayor Schaaf became a high-profile target of conservative ire in February when she issued an alert that ICE immigration raids would be coming to the Bay Area.
Woman wearing ICE cap yells “lock Libby up” as self-described patriots descend on farmers market in Rockridge. The mayor decided to shake hands with the patriots and give them some one-on-one time. https://t.co/I6mqe27k2s ( mayor’s office) pic.twitter.com/o6rxHcpcHp— Lisa Fernandez (@ljfernandez) March 18, 2018
In response to the protest on Sunday, Hasta Muerte encouraged patrons to come by the cafe for a Cambodian food pop-up. “Got some ugly tryna hold us down. Psh,” the business captioned a photo on Instagram of a protestor wearing an ICE hat and holding an American flag.
“It’s a beautiful day, no rain. And some bomb food planned. Out here!”