Dozens protest Apple stores worldwide

February 9, 2012

Dozens of protesters around the world gathered Thursday at Apple stores to call attention to reports of poor conditions in its supply chain factories in China. Demonstrators delivered two online petitions with a combined 250,000 signatures to Apple employees at stores in Washington, D.C, New York, San Francisco, London, Sydney and Bangalore.

As expected, about a dozen people showed up to demonstrate outside the Georgetown Apple store. They were — as my Post colleague Katie Rogers noted — outnumbered by reporters.

After speaking to the media and delivering the petition, the demonstrators left quickly. A sales clerk at the Anne Taylor store next door told The Post that the protest quickly dissipated.

By 10:30 a.m., business was back to normal.

Charlotte Hill, a spokeswoman for Change.org, said that other protests had seen similar turnouts. Hill said that the demonstrations were successful because demonstrators at each of the locations met with Apple employees who have promised to pass on the concerns to Apple’s corporate offices. So far, Apple has not responded to the online petition site, Hill said.

When asked for comment, the Georgetown Apple store manager declined to comment; Apple spokesman Steve Dowling referred The Post to earlier statements about the protests.

“We care about every worker in our worldwide supply chain,” Apple spokesman Steve Dowling told The Post on Wednesday. “We insist that our suppliers provide safe working conditions, treat workers with dignity and respect, and use environmentally responsible manufacturing processes wherever Apple products are made.”

The Cupertino, Calif.-based company has been feeling some heat from consumers about the conditions in its factories in recent months, following two explosions at factories that make its products and media reports outlining hazardous working conditions.

On Thursday, a group of hackers referring to themselves as Swagg Security claimed credit for breaching Apple supplier Foxconn’s computer systems. The Guardian reported that the group posted what it claimed was the username and password of Terry Gou, chief executive of Foxconn’s parent company, Hon Hai Industries.

The hacker group said that the attack was in retaliation for working conditions in the factories. “They say you got your employees all worked up, committing suicide 'n stuff … Your not gonna' know what hit you by the time you finish this release. Your company gonna' crumble, and you deserve it,” the group wrote in an anonymous letter.

Related stories:

Report: Foxconn falls victim to hacking attack

Apple store protests taking place around the world Thursday

FBI’s Steve Jobs file: He will ‘distort reality ... to achieve his goals’

Apple’s Cook responds to criticism over labor violations

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