While Black Thursday and Black Friday remained festive occasions at many malls and big-box stores across the country, some protesters used the consumer spending bonanza to highlight their anger over the slaying of Michael Brown and to call for change in the criminal justice system.
At about 6 p.m. on Thursday evening in Ferguson, Mo., the parking lot in front of the Toys R Us on West Florissant Avenue was empty. The windows and doors had been sealed with plywood, as a precaution against the window breaking that took place earlier in the week in shopping strips a short drive away. A sign tacked to the plywood said the store would open at 7 a.m. Friday.
In the same plaza, the Wal-Mart Supercenter was closed too. About a dozen state police officers and National Guard members stood outside the front, with an armored vehicle parked beside them. They would not permit anyone to approach the building. A police officer said the store would open at 8 a.m. Friday morning.
About a dozen or so peaceful protesters and reporters milled about, but apparently no shoppers.
“Where’s my turkey?” demonstrator Don Fitz repeated rhetorically to the media and the officers. Fitz is co-coordinator of the Green Party of St. Louis, one of dozens of groups that have protested after the killing of Michael Brown. Some in the movement have called for using Black Friday as a focus of more protest, though exact plans had not been revealed Thursday evening.
“We are here because Walmart is the epitome of an anti-worker, anti-community, racist store,” Fitz said.
On Friday, the Wal-Mart store opened as scheduled at 8 a.m., but there were relatively few shoppers. As they entered, they were told there were “no sale items,” and many then turned away. An assistant manager said that since the store was not open Thursday, staff could not set up sale items, so sales were redeployed to other stores. Police patrolled the parking lot and private security guards were posted inside the store. A handful of protesters, including members of the Revolutionary Communist Party, were told to leave the parking lot. They stood at the entrance to the parking lot with signs that said “No Shopping As Usual Black Lives Matter Friday.”
Small Ferguson-related protests cropped up elsewhere across the country.
Here’s a photo from a demonstration in Chicago.
— BYP100 (@BYP_100) November 28, 2014
Another shot from New York:
— StopMotionsolo (@StopMotionsolo) November 28, 2014
New York demonstrators were gathered outside the Macy’s store in Herald Square:
— Jenna Pope (@JennaBPope) November 28, 2014
On Twitter, plenty of users urged others to join them in keep their wallets closed to show opposition to Michael Brown’s killing and the decision not to indict Darren Wilson.
— Angela Jackson-Brown (@adjackson68) November 26, 2014
The Montgomery Bus Boycott wasn't comfortable. Walked everywhere for months in unity. You can't not shop for one day in unity? #NotOneDime
— ayanna313 (@ayanna313) November 28, 2014
— Chris Fiorentini (@YearoftheFilm) November 25, 2014
— Blackout Network (@UnitedBlackout) November 28, 2014
Even hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons weighed in:
More Ferguson coverage from The Washington Post: