Protesters disrupt Black Friday shopping after Ferguson comes together

Updated 11:34 PM EST, Fri November 28, 2014
01:31 - Source: CNN
St. Louis mall overrun by protesters

Story highlights

Seattle demonstrators clash with authorities at Christmas tree lighting

New York police make a handful of arrests as protesters march

Delays reported at transit station in Oakland because of "civil unrest"

Ferguson residents shared turkey, other treats with National Guard troops

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Missouri protesters Friday turned their anger over the police shooting death of unarmed teen Michael Brown on the St. Louis Galleria Mall, forcing it to shut down temporarily on the busiest shopping day of the year.

Demonstrations spanned the country, from service disruptions at an Oakland, California, transit station to a march outside Macy’s Herald Square store in New York.

Protesters in Seattle clashed with authorities on Friday as well. Police said they used pepper spray against demonstrators and said some were throwing flares.

At least five people were arrested, according to authorities.

The city went ahead with a Christmas tree lighting ceremony not far from where protests are being held.

“We need to get some police presence up here. Kids, don’t worry,” someone said over a loudspeaker at the ceremony, trying to reassure the families in attendance. “You are much better mannered than they are.”

CNN affiliate KING posted video of the clash on Twitter.

In a nearby mall, dozens of demonstrators marched and chanted slogans that have been associated with Ferguson-related protests: “Hands up, don’t shoot,” “No justice, no peace” and “Who are we? Mike Brown.”

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray released a statement urging nonviolence by protesters.

“While I understand the hurt and frustration that our city has experienced in the past days, this is a city that respects the rule of law,” he said in a statement. “I support the First Amendment rights of protestors, but violence against property or police officers will not be tolerated in our city.”

In St. Louis, officials urged Galleria retailers to bring down security gates after several hundred protesters entered the mall and disrupted shopping.

One mall worker said demonstrators threatened to throw chairs in the food court before the National Guard moved in.

The mall reopened later Friday.

Protesters chanted “hands up, don’t shoot,” according to CNN affiliate KMOV.

At times, protesters would stop and lie on the floor of the Galleria Mall in a “die-in.”

Demonstrators also interrupted Black Friday shopping at Target and Walmart stores in the area, the station reported.

In Oakland, major delays were reported Friday at the BART West Oakland train station because of “civil unrest,” according to a service advisory. There was no service into or out of San Francisco.

Protesters chanted “Which side are you on?” and “Black lives matter” as BART police officers attempted to remove them from trains. Some demonstrators chained themselves to handrails on the trains, forcing police to remove the handrails. About a half-dozen demonstrators were arrested.

Quiet in Ferguson

The disruptions came as Ferguson streets were largely deserted after a Thanksgiving that mixed kindness with sadness, heartbreak with hope.

Gone were the blazing buildings, set on fire during the most contentious nights of protests this week. So were the stone-faced National Guard troops, standing in a single file, facing angry protesters.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon announced Friday that approximately $625,000 in zero-interest loan funding would be made available to businesses affected by the unrest in Ferguson and some surrounding areas.

“Communities that have been impacted by civil unrest should know that the State of Missouri is committed to providing the resources necessary for them to recover and rebuild,” Nixon said in a news release.

Nixon later announced that he plans to call a special session of the Missouri General Assembly in order to provide funding for security measures in Ferguson.

The state’s financial obligations are “on track to exceed the current appropriate authority for emergency duties,” according to a statement from Nixon’s office.

Demonstrators enter Macy's in Manhattan's Herald Square, urging shoppers to boycott Black Friday.
Lawrence Crook III/CNN
Demonstrators enter Macy's in Manhattan's Herald Square, urging shoppers to boycott Black Friday.

Though troops remained on duty, residents – instead of hurling insults – spread some goodwill, bringing National Guard members turkey and other treats.

“We just all have to make sure that we are taking care of one another,” Terry Pimmel told CNN affiliate KSDK. “That is our mission.”

Bundled-up volunteers painted murals on plywood covering gaping holes where windows once stood, a stark reminder of vandalism of stores a few days ago.

“We came out here because we thought that anything would be better than just blank plywood,” Avi Ryan, 13, told CNN affiliate KMOV.

And for Brown’s family, it was the first Thanksgiving without him. Relatives gathered at his father’s house, where an empty chair sat at the dining table.

A shirt with the words “Gone Too Soon” was draped over the chair while his father, Michael Brown Sr., stood nearby wearing a shirt with the word “Justice.”

The younger Brown, 18, was fatally shot in August by Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson.

A grand jury’s decision Monday not to indict Wilson sparked protests in the St. Louis suburb that spread from coast to coast.

Black Friday boycott

Protesters urged supporters to boycott shopping on Black Friday. And if they did shop, they were told to take their money to black-owned businesses, some of which they listed on social media.

Supporters had been urged to boycott major retailers nationwide.

About 300 protesters gathered outside Macy’s in New York for a march Friday afternoon. Carrying signs with messages such as “We will not be silent” and “Ferguson is everywhere,” about a dozen protesters entered the department store and were followed by police. Others marched north toward Times Square.

Organizers said they were protesting everything from the Ferguson grand jury decision to racial profiling. At least seven protesters have been arrested on various charges, including impeding traffic and disorderly conduct, according to police.

Celebration postponed

Ferguson has postponed its annual Northern Lights celebration, which was scheduled for Sunday. The event includes a parade and the lighting of a Christmas tree.

“The decision was difficult, but ultimately, all involved felt postponing the event is the most appropriate course of action at this time,” the city said in a statement.

Policing in a post-Ferguson U.S.

Attorney General Eric Holder will travel to Atlanta on Monday to hold the first in a series of meetings focused on race relations and policing in minority communities, according to CNN justice reporter Evan Perez.

Holder’s announcement comes just days after President Barack Obama promised regional meetings that would focus on “building trust in our communities.”

“For the overwhelming majority of people who just feel frustrated and pained because they get a sense that maybe some communities aren’t treated fairly or some individuals aren’t seen as as worthy as others, I understand that, and I want to work with you,” Obama said Tuesday.

Holder plans to have about five of these meetings across the nation.

CNN’s Evan Perez, Eric Bradner, Leigh Remizowski and Shimon Prokupecz contributed to this report.