Breaking: Activists arrested in Virginia at one of 1,500 planned Wal-Mart protests

Against “massive economic manipulation,” says Jesse Jackson, workers “willing to sacrifice to educate and inspire"

Topics: Wal-Mart, Black Friday, Thanksgiving, Unions, Strikes, Civil Rights, Labor, shopping, , ,

Breaking: Activists arrested in Virginia at one of 1,500 planned Wal-Mart protestsProtesters outside Walmart in Los Angeles, November 7, 2013. (Credit: Reuters/Lucy Nicholson)

Nine activists were arrested at an Alexandria, Virginia protest Friday morning, the first of nine planned civil disobedience demonstrations against Wal-Mart. As I reported this morning, the planned arrests are a centerpiece of this year’s “Black Friday” activism against the retail giant, which organizers say will include strikes and 1,500 total protests. According to organizers, around two hundred people participated in the Alexandria rally; arrestees included employee Osvaldo Alonso and eight community supporters.

“Civil disobedience is a form of overt sacrifice of one’s body for a principle that one believes in,” Rainbow PUSH Coalition Founder Rev. Jesse Jackson told Salon Wednesday. “It’s the opposite of terrorism.” Jackson argued Wal-Mart workers’ use of civil disobedience showed that faced with “massive economic manipulation,” they were “willing to sacrifice to educate and inspire.” Jackson, who was with Dr. Martin Luther King when he was assassinated, said, “part of our movement was to get free and equal. These workers are free, but not equal.”

You Might Also Like

Members of the union-backed group OUR Walmart are demanding the chance to earn at least $25,000 a year, changes to work schedules they charge are erratic and insufficient, and an end to alleged retaliation against activists. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka told reporters this month that the union federation “has committed the full weight of the labor movement to support these brave, determined Wal-Mart workers, and to end this epidemic.”

Today’s actions follow a series of one-day strikes in different cities over recent weeks. Fifteen-year employee Jaime Martinez told Salon Monday that he was striking in hopes of getting Wal-Mart to stop targeting activists and start recognizing that “we as employees, we work very hard.” Martinez added, “I know a lot of co-workers, they want to speak up and say something, but they’re afraid that Wal-Mart will retaliate against them and fire some of them.”

Wal-Mart did not immediately respond to a morning inquiry. In a Wednesday e-mail, Wal-Mart Vice President David Tovar called “planned arrests” “just another way to make these orchestrated events seem newsworthy.” In a statement e-mailed Friday morning, Wal-Mart US CEO Bill Simon touted the retailer’s holiday success so far: “Our Black Friday events were bigger, better, faster, cheaper and safer than ever. More customers chose us, we had the prices and products they were looking for, and we’re not finished yet.”

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 10
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Michael Ohl/Museum fur Naturkunde

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Soul-Sucking Dementor Wasp

    Latin name: Ampulex dementor

    Truong Ngyuen

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    10,000th reptile species

    Latin name: Cyrtodactylus vilaphongi

    Jodi Rowley/Australian Museum

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Colour-changing thorny frogs

    Latin name: Gracixalus lumarius

    Judith L. Eger

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Long-fanged bat

    Latin name: Hypsugo dolichodon

    Neang Thy Moe/FFI

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Stealthy wolf snake

    Latin name: Lycodon zoosvictoriae

    Michael Janes

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Feathered coral

    Latin name: Ovabunda andamanensis

    Jerome Constant

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    World's second-longest insect

    Phryganistria heusii yentuensis

    Nantasak Pinkaew

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Slide 8

    Latin name: Sirindhornia spp

    Tim Johnson

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Slide 9

    Tylototriton shanorum

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

Loading Comments...