Police arrested nine people outside a Walmart store in California Friday. They were part of the nationwide series of demonstrations and walk-outs against labor conditions at the retail giant. The protests were made during Black Friday, which is the busiest shopping day in the United States. Organizers of the protests said that around 1,000 actions were held across 46 states.
The biggest protest was held in Paramount, California where more than 1,500 people took part in the streets. They demonstrated against the low wages that keep Walmart workers in poverty. Organizers also complained about the retaliation made by the retailer against employees who speak out about it.
Nine people were arrest after they refused to leave the street according to Captain Mike Parker of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Three of those arrested were striking Walmart employees. OUR Walmart is the organizer of the protests. It is supported by the United Food and Commercial Workers’ Union. The other people in the protest actions were local community supporters.
Protests were made across the country and attracted high profile supporters. In Florida, protesters were joined by Congressman Alan Grayson. Congressman George Miller also joined the picket line in California.
In recent months, Walmart has been hit by strikes and protests in Southern California and Illinois. They accused the company of paying low wages and operating in unsafe conditions. Despite the protests, Walmart said that it got its best Black Friday in history. The retailer also said that most of the protesters were not Walmart employees.
The protests didn’t disrupt the operations of Walmart stores but they opened late on Thanksgiving holiday or in the early hours of Friday morning. Shoppers were greeted with long lines, crowded checkouts and the usual pushing and shoving as they battled for bargain deals.
Protesters promised to keep the demonstrations going into the holiday season. They said that the Black Friday protests were just the beginning.