On Thursday night, Los Angeles police arrested 54 people in a massive civil disobedience involving more than 200 Walmart workers outside the newly opened Chinatown Walmart store, Fox News reported.
The group of workers, supporters and clergy halted traffic by sitting in a circle and refusing to move despite threats from law enforcement. The police then responded with force, deploying hundreds of officers with riot gear and a helicopter to break up the peaceful protest.
Organizers are calling the action — which was a protest against the retail giant’s “poverty wages” — the largest single act of civil disobedience in Walmart’s 50 year history.
Since its opening in September, the Chinatown store has been subject to criticism and protests by labor groups demanding better employment practices. Leading up to the demonstration, workers in southern California went on strike on Wednseday and Thursday calling for an end to low wages, irregular work hours and reprisals for speaking out against the giant conglomerate.
The strike and protest were part of a mounting campaign of worker actions across the country organized by OUR Walmart, an advocacy organization linked to the United Food and Commercial Workers Union. The group is demanding that every full-time worker be paid at least $25,000 a year.
Organizers say the strike and protest in Los Angeles this week are the first of what will be a series of protests leading up to the holiday season, Huff Post reported. As Black Friday draws nearer, workers are preparing for massive, widespread strikes to pressure the conglomerate to pay all of its full-time workers at least $25,000 a year.
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