As the rest of the nation gathered in droves to hit up the superfantastic deals on Black Friday and basically kill one another for half-off toasters and universal remote controls, Walmart workers and activists held peaceful rallies outside stores as part of a nationwide walkout to protest poor wages and bad treatment of employees by the megachain.
A protest in Boynton Beach drew about 70 people.
"I've attended a lot of pro labor rallies, but this one had a different feel to it," Lisa Pitt Tilson told New Times about the Boynton Beach rally organized by OccupyMarines.
Tilson, who is not a part of OccupyMarines, says the rally started out small but gradually grew into a healthy, determined crowd.
"There were about 20 people there at 10 in the morning," she says. "But by 11, I'd say at least 65 to 70 people had gathered."
The crowd included Walmart employees and activists as well as regular folks with their kids, all there to show support for the peaceful protest.
The group gathered on a sidewalk outside the store, located on the corner of Gulfstream and U.S. 1, and marched up and down carrying signs, some wearing lime-green Occupy shirts.
At one point, the group marched toward the store's doors to speak with management. A manager met the group outside, and a few amicable words were exchanged.
Groups across the country gathered Friday -- the busiest shopping day of the year -- to protest Walmart's low wages and lack of benefits and to stand up to the chain's constant antagonistic approach to employees who have tried to organize in the past. Walmart does not have unions.
After the organizers spoke with the Boynton Beach store manager, the group held an open-mic prayer asking Walmart to do the right thing.
The march lasted until noon and went without a hitch.
The protest also drew the Boynton Beach Police to to the scene, but merely to keep the peace. There were no incidents reported.
"There were about eight officers standing guard, and the protesters started chanting that the police deserved a raise too," Pitt Tilson says. "The cops seemed to like that."
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