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Brooklyn Salon Shuttered Following Protests Over Worker-Customer Scuffle

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Fists and broom handles flew at a hair salon in Brooklyn Friday night when a brawl broke out between customers and employees.

On Monday, angry residents protested outside the Happy Red Apple Nail Salon in East Flatbush. Community members put up signs on its shuttered gate, vowing to close the salon for good following the Friday melee.

"You couldn't pay me to come back here," said resident Crystal Harper. "Everybody that's out here should be putting their money together and opening up their own nail salon and supporting themselves."

Police say the fight broke out after a customer, Christina Thomas, complained about her eyebrow service and refused to pay $5 for it. Her mother says that's when the salon owner stepped in and things got heated.

"She had practically all her eyebrow off," said her mom. "He said 'I'll fix it,' she said 'you can't fix it'."

That's when the owner called the police, according to Christina's mother. Surveillance video released by the Chinese American Nail Association shows the verbal argument escalating into a physical fight. Police say Christina, who is seen with her grandmother, hit an employee. The employee then struck the customer with a broom, according to police.

Thomas and employee Huiyue Zheng were arrested, and the CANA says an employee told them Tomas refused to pay for any of the other services. The association tells CBS2 the altercation could have easily been avoided.

"That happens a lot, they're not supposed to fight like that, for both sides that is totally wrong," a representative from the association said.

Earlier Monday, dozens of people protested outside the salon which had originally opened for business. It eventually closed early, with police escorting workers to a waiting van. Protesters say it should never be allowed to happen again.

"They viciously attacked the grandmother and the granddaughter, beat them with sticks as if they were animals and threw acetone on them," said community activist Anthony Beckford. "We're here to demand justice."

Police questioned the nail salon owner for several hours, but so far no further arrests were made.

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