Ferguson protesters shut down malls across United States on Black Friday

Majority of protests were peaceful with demonstrators lying down inside shopping centres but US authorities did report a number of arrests

Rose Troup Buchanan
Saturday 29 November 2014 10:49 GMT

US demonstrators appeared to shut at least three large malls in Ferguson yesterday as local residents took to the shops to protest against the Grand Jury’s decision.

The Missouri town has been struck with numerous – sometimes violent – demonstrations in the past week following a Grand Jury’s decision not to indict police Officer Darren Wilson for the killing of black unarmed teenager Michael Brown.

Stores in the Galleria Mall in Richmond Heights, a few miles south of Ferguson, lowered their security doors and locked entrances after the appearance of around 200 peaceful protesters.

Lying on the ground inside the mall, the group chanted: "Stop shopping and join the movement," until authorities closed the shopping centre for over an hour in the afternoon.

The protesters also shouted: “Black lives matter” and “stop don’t shoot” while urging shoppers to quit the mall in solidarity with their demonstration.

Shoppers appeared unperturbed by their presence. "I thought they were very peaceful," Sarah Jeffords-Haas told USA Today, as she walked around the protesters on the floor of the mall.

St. Louis resident Cbabi Bayoc brought his three children to take part in the protest. "I brought my kids to show them what peaceful protest and engagement looks like," he said.

A peaceful protest outside West Country Mall in nearby Des Peres and the appearance of a few demonstrators at the Chesterfield Mall also precipitated its early close. There were no arrests made.

"We want to really let the world know that it is no longer business as usual," Chenjerai Kumanyika, an assistant professor at Clemson University in South Carolina, told Fox News at a rally at a Wal-Mart in Manchester, in a St. Louis suburb.

Another St. Louis protest, starting outside a local shopping mall, ended up outside the Missouri police station and resulted in 15 peoples’ arrest.

Across the country similar protests also resulted in early shop closures on the busiest day of the retail calendar.

In San Fransisco a vital commuter train was delayed for an hour when protesters, wearing black t-shirts that read “Black Lives Matter”, chained themselves to the trains.

In Seattle demonstrators attempted to prevent the city’s lights from being turned on, with reports also emerging that claimed some protesters attempted to chain store doors shut.

USA Today reported that at least three dozen people had been arrested in connection with these events.

In Chicago around 200 people gathered along the popular Magnificent Mile shopping district, with one protester calling the movement “a day of awareness and engagement.”

The continued: "We want them to think twice before spending that dollar today".

“As long as black lives are put second to materialism, there will be no peace," she claimed.

Since the Jury’s decision was announced on Monday evening the protests have gradually become more peaceful, but the latest demonstrations have drawn criticism from local Ferguson business owners.

Mobile phone salesman Abdullah Norman claimed: ““Basically we’re losing a lot of business...I think we’re going to leave in a minute if we stay like that.”

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