Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann met with anti-Wall Street protesters Friday, but not necessarily by choice — the protesters won the right to meet her up close by buying her book at a Black Friday book signing.
Heavy security kept a close eye on the protesters who showed up at the public event at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn., where the Minnesota congresswoman was signing copies of “Core of Conviction,” her autobiography, in a private area of the megamall. At least a dozen members from the Minnesota offshoot of the Occupy Wall Street movement bought copies so they could approach her.
Several uniformed and plainclothes officers prevented the protesters from bringing in signs and let them into the room one at a time. Bachmann foes and fans alike were subject to bag searches and pat-downs before entering. Reporters were not allowed in the room when the protesters came through.
Other offshoots of the original Occupy Wall Street movement also used the biggest shopping day of the year as a means of voicing their concerns.
In Pennsylvania, Occupy Harrisburg protesters showed up at Capital City Mall dressed as zombies to protest the consumerism of the celebrated day.
The Capital City Mall bans outfits that hide a person’s face. According to police, only one protester refused to wash off the makeup, and was arrested and charged with misdemeanor trespassing. The remainder of the protesters, minus zombie face paint, walked peacefully through the mall.
In Oklahoma, a group of Occupy OKC activists showed up at a Wal-Mart to protest the large wage disparity between store workers and corporate officers. Occupy OKC participant Mark Faulk said 10 members of the group were arrested for disorderly conduct early Friday after conducting a group chant inside the store in the Oklahoma City suburb.
Faulk contended police used excessive force by tackling and handcuffing participants who were heading toward the exit after being asked to leave by store personnel. Del City Police Lt. Steve Robinson disagreed.
Two Wal-Marts were targeted Friday in Eugene, Ore., where Occupy protesters chanted and used a bullhorn. One person was arrested on a trespassing charge.
Meanwhile, in Washington state, Occupy Seattle members were urging shoppers who must buy to patronize local businesses instead of giant corporations, and to consider giving handmade holiday gifts.