Dozens of Lebanese protestors angry at Israel's onslaught of the Gaza Strip forced the closure Tuesday of a Starbucks coffee shop in Beirut, calling for a boycott of the U.S.-based chain.
"We want to revive the boycott campaign in Lebanon and the Arab countries," demonstration organizer Yara Harakeh, 23, told AFP, adding: "We have begun with Starbucks."
Demonstrators wearing the iconic black and white Palestinian keffiyeh scarf stood outside the Starbucks in Beirut's Hamra shopping district, yelling: "Boycott the Zionists for the Arab Palestine."
Staff inside the coffee shop refused comment, and eventually switched off the lights, locked the doors and left.
AlArabiya.net recently reported about rumors circulated via email and on social networking sites that top American companies were donating their profits to Israel to support its blitz of Gaza.
Chain letters sent via email and Facebook called on consumers to boycott several major U.S.-based companies like McDonalds, Starbucks, Pizza Hut and cigarette maker Phillip Morris, though most of the companies have explicitly denied the rumors on their websites and in interviews.
Starbucks has 276 stores in nine Middle East countries through its partnership with a private Kuwait family firm, according to Rana Shaheen, communications manager for Starbucks Middle East.
Israel's deadly assault on Gaza has sparked protests across the world as hundreds of thousands decried the war that has left at least 952 Palestinians dead and at least 3,000 wounded. Israel says Hamas rocket fire has killed 10 soldiers and three citizens.