Issues

Hundreds Of Ferguson Protesters Shut Down St. Louis Shopping Malls On Black Friday

In a powerful display of true civil disobedience, hundreds of protesters stormed a St. Louis area shopping mall Friday afternoon, leading to the mall’s temporary closure on the busiest shopping day of the year. Ferguson demonstrators showed up in force at the St. Louis Galleria around lunchtime Friday and marched through the mall’s corridors. Many of the stores closed their gates and eventually security called for the entire shopping center to be closed down at one point. Local police showed up but did not make any arrests, allowing the protesters to demonstrate peacefully.

Initially, a planned protest was scheduled at the mall early in the morning, but only a small group of demonstrators showed up at the Galleria and other local shopping centers. However, due to the power of social media, local activists and protest organizers were able to mobilize hundreds of people to show up later in the day and bring the mall to a standstill during its biggest sales day of the year. Besides St. Louis, protesters across the nation Friday staged actions where retail business were impacted and transportation was disrupted. A message was sent to business owners and local officials that commerce would not flow normally.

DeRay McKesson, an activist who has been a key protest organizer since demonstrations first began in Ferguson in August after the death of Michael Brown, provided a number of tweets directly from the scene of the Galleria demonstration, including a ‘die in.’

 


Two employees of Macy’s, who had just clocked out, also joined the protest. Protesters also state other mall employees offered gestures and words of support to the demonstrators. Eventually, the majority of the protesters moved on and the mall did reopen. However, the impact on the businesses was definitely felt, and it was unclear as of Friday afternoon if all of the stores reopened or if shoppers decided to head back to the Galleria.

Meanwhile, some protesters headed to West County Mall, another shopping center in the St. Louis area. Police officers were already gathered in force at the mall and confronted protesters immediately, threatening the demonstrators with arrest.

After the police officers had forced demonstrators out of the mall, the crowd shut down an exit ramp near the mall. At the same time, mall security locked the doors of the mall, temporarily shutting down the shopping center. Once again, Ferguson protesters were able to disrupt the flow of commerce on Black Friday.

On Friday, activists and organizers were able to use the power of protest to peacefully but powerfully send a message that they will not remain silent while injustice is tolerated and supported. This is now a movement, and it will not stop. The non-indictment of Darren Wilson has proven to them that action is needed.

Justin Baragona

Justin Baragona is the Managing Editor at Politicus Sports as well as Senior Editor at PoliticusUSA. He was a political writer for 411Mania.com before joining PoliticusUSA. Politically, Justin considers himself a liberal but also a realist and pragmatist. Currently, Justin lives in St. Louis, MO and is married. Besides writing, he also runs his own business after spending a number of years in the corporate world. You can follow Justin on Twitter either with his personal handle (@justinbaragona) or the Sports site's (@PoliticusSports).

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