Disrupting commerce, transit and traffic became focal points for demonstrators across the country days after the announcement that a grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri declined to indict the police officer who fatally shot 18-year-old Michael Brown.
As Small Business Saturday approached, numerous storefronts in the Ferguson area had their windows covered with plywood with messages painted across many of them letting neighbors know that the shops are still open. Demonstrators temporarily shut down three large malls in suburban St. Louis on Black Friday, one of the busiest shopping days of the year, and then marched in front of the Ferguson police department to protest the grand jury’s decision.
Several stores lowered their security doors or locked entrances as at least 200 protesters sprawled onto the floor while chanting, “Stop shopping and join the movement,” at the Galleria mall in Richmond Heights a few miles south of Ferguson, Missouri, where Officer Darren Wilson fatally shot Brown, who was unarmed, in August.
The action prompted authorities to close the mall for about an hour Friday afternoon, while a similar protest of about 50 people had the same effect at West County Mall in nearby Des Peres. And several dozen demonstrators led to a temporary closure of the Chesterfield Mall.
Later Friday night, a group of about 100 protesters marched down South Florissant Road in front of the city’s police and fire departments chanting, blocking traffic and stopping in front of some businesses.