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Drag Queen Story Time protest temporarily shut down Franklin Boulevard

A drag queen story time event was scheduled at a business in the area around the same time that the demonstration began.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A protest forced police to close Franklin Boulevard in the area of 2nd Avenue Sunday, the Sacramento Police Department said in a post on Twitter.

Protestors temporarily shut down an entire intersection at Franklin Boulevard and 4th because of an event known as Drag Queen Story Time. The roadway has since reopened.

The business owners of Poppy + Pot, who host it, say they were targeted recently by hate groups and white supremacists. 

On Sunday, what started out as a peaceful Drag Queen Story Time for children and families inside Poppy + Pot, ended up looking a lot different outside the business on Franklin Boulevard.

A crowd outside was met with a group of people against the event. It led to someone being pepper sprayed, someone being arrested and a man going as far as to demonstrate the Nazi salute.

"It's just very upsetting. Obviously, I got emotional because I can't believe it's 2023 and there's still people that think that's a value to uphold. And it's a thing that's written in the history books and then we're still going through and people are still being targeted," said Karina Salcedo, who was a parent attending Drag Queen Story Time with her family. 

Parents and the owners of Poppy + Pot say Drag Queen Story Time is about being inclusive.

"We host it because it's so important to teach our kids and clearly adults too. The power of inclusivity, creative self-expression while embracing the joy of reading, that's what Drag Queen Story Hour is all about," said Da'Reen Reichenberg, who co-owns Poppy + Pot with her husband. 

But it's clearly ruffled some feathers among those who have made threats against the shop owners.

"We started getting a ton of just really hateful messages and comments. It started with that, but then we found out a White Lives Matter group, Proud Boys, they shared our home address. They shared pictures of our kids," said Reichenberg. 

Sacramento police could not confirm exactly what groups were out there but said they believe people out there were affiliated with hate and white supremacist groups. 

"It just got really out of hand, and they had the message to go attack them. They've been leaving really bad reviews on Google, and just really trying to hurt our business any way they can," said Kevin Reichenberg, who co-owns Poppy + Pot with his wife. 

Instead of backing down and canceling the monthly event, they say they now feel obligated to continue with their message, and their community is standing behind them.

"It's important that they're there.  Folks show up, stick up for each other, and you know, if you have a voice, use it. We don't stand for hate here. It's shown," said Esteban Salcedo, who was attending Drag Queen Story Time with his family. 

Drag Queen Story Time has been held in the past, and business owners tell us they plan to host the event again next month, despite the backlash. 

Watch more from ABC10: Art event held in memory of DJ Gio

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