Teatotaller says it won’t be influenced by Neo-Nazi protest outside of Concord cafe

 By JACQUELINE COLE

 Monitor staff

Published: 06-20-2023 8:40 PM

More than a dozen masked men clad in black chanted Nazi salutes as they stood outside Teatotaller cafe Sunday on Main Street. Meanwhile, drag Queen Juicy Garland read story books to a small group of children and parents upstairs, seemingly unfazed.  

The men, who did not give their names, identified themselves as members of the neo-Nazi group NSC-131 and held a banner declaring, “Defend White Communities.”

Teatotaller describes itself as “an oasis of queer, hipster, tea, coffee, and pastry goodness.” The cafe opened in June of 2022 and is a beacon of color and inclusivity.

Its bright pink door and “you are loved” pride flag are hard to miss in downtown Concord, but on Sunday they were partially blocked by members of NSC-131 (Nationalist Social Club), a neo-Nazi group with chapters throughout New England. The group “seeks to form an underground network of white men who are willing to fight against their perceived enemies through localized direct actions,” according to the Anti-Defamation League’s website

“Off our streets!” NSC-131 members shouted repeatedly, facing the glass windows of the cafe. Police at the scene said it was unclear whether or not they were armed. No arrests were made. 

In addition to police, community volunteers wearing neon yellow “peacekeeper” vests encouraged offended onlookers to disengage.

Upstairs at Teatotaller, Juicy Garland read “Florence and Her Fantastic Family Tree”by Judy Gilliam to the group who went for Sunday reading hour. One family of three listened to the story, wearing matching shirts that said “proud of my family.”

The men wearing hats with the number 131, said story hour was intended to “groom” young children, and continually shouted slurs at people walking in and out of the cafe.

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The protesters did not stop Teatotaller from continuing with their business as usual, despite protestors’ strong, deep chants and visible presence on the sidewalk.

One man, who identified himself as Ted, walked back and forth between the cafe tables and the protesters. He said he was there because he heard about the protest and wanted to protect the children inside Teatotaller.

Teatotaller doesn’t get this reaction every time they host a Sunday story hour, but in November it was swarmed by the Proud Boys while the same guest, Juicy Garland, read stories.

Teatotaller issued a blanket statement in response to events outside the cafe:

“Only recently has there emerged a small band of self-identified white supremacists who have disrupted these events to gain clout. They have not and will not deter us from continuing to provide a safe and enjoyable environment for all Granite Staters to be proud of and recognize they belong here.”

Inside its vibrant exterior, the cashier served coffee and vegan treats to customers and chanted along with the protesters in jest, humming, “off our streets,” while he swiped a credit card.

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