Black Friday Protest in Urbana, Illinois

Across the nation, the media has featured the shopping frenzy on “black Friday” – the day after Thanksgiving. They have not featured so much the protests at Walmart on that same day. Here is a report from Urbana, IL. It shows how individual workers like this one – carpenter David Johnson – are taking it upon themselves to organize.
Black Friday Walmart Protest in Urbana Illinois 
by David Johnson
Our Walmart protest in Urbana IL. today ( Nov.  29th ) was interesting.
WE had 30 people turn out to  protest.
When I and three others first arrived 20 minutes  early, we decided to set-up on the sidewalk on the south side of Walmart where  we were right next to the entry to the Walmart parking lot, as opposed to the  sidewalk on the busy street where the entry road begins.
Within 5-minutes of setting-up, two Walmart  security people approached us and told us we were on private  property.
I stated that we were on a public sidewalk and we  had every right to be there. One of the security people then stated that they  had a zoning map that showed that the sidewalk was on their property and that if  we did not leave they would call the police.
At which point one of our protesters, a retired  Railroad Worker, said in a very assertive manner, for them to call the police  that we would love to get arrested because it would be the best publicity we  could hope for. I then asked where their property line was and the Walmart  security person said that he was not going to tell us that info. I then stated  that if he wasn’t going to share that info then that we would wait for the  police to arrive to sort things out. At which point the Walmart security people  left.
After this encounter more people began to arrive,  We were spread out in four spots, two groups of people on the main road on each  side of the entry road and two groups of people on both sides of the road next  to the parking lot.
We eventually over time all gathered in one group  up toward the main road, with many cars passing by honking approval. 
Unfortunately few drivers took  flyers.
Towards the end of the protest we decided to have  a delegation of about ten people walk to the Walmart entrance to give a letter  to management to forward to their corporate headquarters, deploring the wages  and working conditions of Walmart Workers, The letter was from a  local interfaith community group.
The ten member delegation was 50 feet or more from  the entrance of the store when Walmart security came charging out the entry door  to stop us. The head of the security detail was a woman who looked a lot like  Sarah Palin and even spoke like her, telling us that she admired our  determination in braving the cold for so long but that we were now causing an  adverse public safety issue and that if we did not leave the store entry area  and the parking lot immediately that they would call the police. Many of the  delegation bantered a bit with the Palin clone for a while and then we  eventually left.
We returned to the public sidewalk and began to  disperse when the police arrived. The cop got out of his car and asked who was  in charge to which we stated our standard reply that no one is in charge ( that  always confuses the police ). The cop actually was very friendly and said that  we shouldn’t go on Walmart’s property anymore, that BOTH sidewalks were public  property that we had every right to be on and that our delivery of the letter to  the front door was also an acceptable legal action. He then stated that he  supported what we were doing and wished us a good day and  left.
Lastly I handed out the postcard sized colored  flyers to people ( the ones targeted at Walmart Workers ) and requested that  everyone within the next few days to go to one of the three Walmart stores in  our city, walk into the store and hand out three of the flyers ( unfortunately  we only had enough for three per person ) to three Walmart Workers in the store  and then leave.
I have film footage of some of the days event  including the confrontation with the Walmart security at the front entrance door  to the Walmart store.
I was also interviewed by both local television  stations, one interview before the protest and one during the  protest.
All in all, a good day.

Categories: rebellion, United States

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