Activists shut down malls on Black Friday as Ferguson protests intensify

ST. LOUIS – It is known as the busiest shopping day of the year, but this Nov. 28 Black Friday, was more than just long lines and last minute tiffs between shoppers eyeing the leftover merchandise.

Walking inside the Galleria Mall shoppers were greeted by the sound of Ferguson demonstrators who continue to protest and fight for justice in the case of Michael Brown; their commitment to continued demonstrations has recently intensified after the grand jury’s announcement that Darren Wilson, the officer who shot and killed Brown, would not be indicted.

Gathering around the mall’s Christmas tree, demonstrators began carolling loudly as they rewrote the words to many holiday classics and focused much of their attention to speaking directly to the holiday shopping crowd. People passing by either gave a wave, smile, or a thumbs up of support for what they were doing but there were still those few who decided to curse, shout, and demonize the peaceful demonstration.

Around 12:45 p.m., demonstrators began a massive die in, people laid right where they had stood for four and a half minutes of silent reverence. As a demonstrator nearby mentioned, “We want you to think about going to college in 30 days then getting shot six times and left bleeding out in the street for four and a half hours.”

As the silence ended, demonstrators regrouped and were joined by other protestors who had been further down the mall. Shortly after, event organizers began a march to the second floor and within the moments demonstrators took control of the top level stomping and chanting, “We shut sh*t down!”

As if on cue, store managers began frantically running to their stores’ respective entrances, locking the doors, and pulling down the exterior fences. “Stop shopping and join the movement!” was the victory cry as one by one all the kiosks and stores around them closed.

Demonstrators successfully shut down the Galleria for about an hour and did so not only for Mike Brown but also in solidarity with the striking Walmart workers across the country.

This early afternoon action led to similar shut down demonstrations at the West County Mall in nearby Des Peres, Mo., and the Chesterfield mall. These protests coupled with demonstrations in Chicago, New York, Seattle, and Northern California, where protestors chained themselves to trains, were among the largest in the country this Black Friday.

Photo: Jeff Roberson/AP


Al Neal
Al Neal

Award winning journalist Al Neal is PW associate editor for labor and politics. He is also the chief photographer for People's World. He is a member of the Chicago News Guild, Society of Professional Journalists, Professional Photographers of America, National Sports Media Association, and The Ernest Brooks Foundation.