On Black Friday, peaceful protest is a jailable offense, while violent mobs are acceptable so long as they are spending money. Rania Khalek writes:
The treatment of peaceful protesters compared to the unruly and sometimes violent crowds of stampeding Black Friday shoppers couldn’t be more different. While the former is ostracized and forcibly removed by police, the latter is encouraged to come out for a competitive brawl over marked off goods. Nowhere is this contrast more clearly defined than in the police treatment of Walmart protesters over the last 24 hours.
On Friday, at least 1,000 Walmart employees throughout the country walked off the job to protest Walmart’s poor labor practices. Local police departments have been happy to disperse and even arrest strikers and their supporters on behalf of the world’s largest retailer.
At a Walmart store in Paramount, just outside of Los Angeles, some 1,500 people rallied against Walmart. Josh Eidelson, live-blogging about the Walmart strikes at The Nation, reports that “Nine people have been arrested for sitting in the street on Lakewood Boulevard, including three striking Walmart retail workers from area stores.
“About 200 protesters were forced from the Walmart property at 83rd and Stewart, after additional Chicago police officers were called and arrived on scene,” reports Fox Chicago.
Iowa City Police dispersed a crowd of 15 protesters who stood at the entrance of an Iowa City Walmart Parking lot for about an hour handing out literature about Walmart’s horrible working conditions to shoppers.
In Danbury Connecticut, local police were already at the Walmart store prior to the arrival of 50 protesters who couldn’t even finish reading a statement aloud inside the store before the police forced them to leave.