FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) — Protesters interrupted holiday shopping at major retailers around the St. Louis area on Friday to speak out about the grand jury’s decision not to indict the police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown.
Other Black Friday protests were planned in shopping centers around the nation, as demonstrators sought to catch the attention of consumers looking for good deals.
About two dozen people chanted “no justice, no peace, no racist police” and “no more Black Friday” after police moved them out of a Wal-Mart in Manchester, a St. Louis suburb.
Officers warned the protesters that they risked arrest if they didn’t move at least 50 feet from the store’s entrance, then began advancing in unison until the protesters moved farther into the parking lot. The protesters, who were mostly black, chanted in the faces of the officers, most of whom were white, as shoppers looked on.
“We want to really let the world know that it is no longer business as usual,” said Chenjerai Kumanyika, an assistant professor at Clemson University.
Protests have occurred in Ferguson and cities throughout the country since Monday night’s announcement that Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, who is white, wouldn’t be indicted for killing Brown, a black 18-year-old, during an August confrontation. A dozen buildings and some cars were torched in Ferguson on Monday night and dozens of people were arrested, but the protests have grown more peaceful as the week went on.
Security was heightened at the Walmart in Ferguson on Friday morning, with military Humvees, police cars and security guards on patrol. The store was busy, but there were no protesters.
In contrast to the large protests earlier this week, some of Friday’s demonstrations drew only a few protesters and were relatively brief. At a shopping center in the St. Louis suburb of Kirkwood, for example, a dozen people gathered and chanted “Black lives matter.”
Johnetta Elzie, who had been tweeting and posting videos of the protests, said demonstrations occurred at a Wal-Mart and Target in Brentwood, two Wal-Marts in St. Charles and one Wal-Mart in Manchester.
A group of about 30 people rode a bus from New York to join in the St. Louis area protests. The group normally focuses on “earth justice” issues, but planned “to stand in solidarity with some of the Michal Brown protesters,” said Nehemiah Luckett, of New York.
“It’s low-income communities of color, the poorest of the poor, that get hit by climate change and state violence” through aggressive police forces, said Monica Hunken, another of the New York protesters.
Associated Press writers David A. Lieb in Bridgeton and Phillip Lucas contributed to this report.
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