The Galleria Mall in St. Louis was shut down today as hundreds of black and white activists walked chanting through the enormous shopping center on “Black Friday”. We learned about the action just before it began and when we arrived inside the mall many activists were already there leading chants like:
- Shut it down
- Indict, convict, put the killer cops in jail – the whole damn system is guilty as hell
- No justice, no peace
- Forward together, no going back
- No Black Friday
- Hands up, don’t shoot
- Stop shopping, join the movement
As the crowd swelled it took over both floors of the mall and about half the stores pulled down the security gates to close their shop. Many of the workers inside the stores stood behind their gates and clapped, chanted and filmed the protest. The best moment was when two women in Macy’s uniforms led the rousing chant “No Black Friday”.
Twice during the 90 minutes we were there a mass die-in was held to remind everyone that Michael Brown’s body was left in the street of Ferguson for four and one-half hours after he was shot dead.
Many cops from various law enforcement agencies were brought into the mall but they were helpless – it was impossible to distinguish the protesters from shoppers as many mall customers were clapping and filming the action with their cell phones. Many actually joined the crowd as we walked through the mall.
As I write this back at the Veterans For Peace office I am listening to St. Louis public radio which is reporting on the event. One local Fox News station posted on their web site that the mall was closed “indefinitely”.
This action had to have significant impact on the shopping mall’s Black Friday profits. (I learned after we left that the protest organizers moved from the Galleria Mall to other stores in the metro area.) The local business community has to be feeling the pressure as these protests spread from the streets into the economic zone of the St. Louis metropolitan region.
The best thing about this action was knowing that most of the mall customers would never dream of attending one of these Michael Brown solidarity protests. They would be too afraid to ever go near such an action but here today they suddenly were right in the middle of the whole event. They had to see the spirited non-violent protest was in fact not nearly as dangerous as corporate media keeps telling them.
The media, gathered here in St. Louis from around the world, was all over this protest today. The young black men and women leading these events are doing themselves proud.