Hundreds Of #BlackLivesMatter Protestors Partially Shut Down The Mall Of America

"No justice, no shopping."

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We’re just four days out from Christmas but many in the US are finding it difficult to reconcile the nation’s usual holiday celebrations with recent political events. As part of the ongoing #BlackLivesMatter protests against police brutality, around 1,000 people have today taken to the Mall of America to stage a peaceful demonstration. In reference to both the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, and the ensuing acquittals of the men responsible for their death, the protestors chanted “No justice, no shopping”. “While you’re on your shopping spree, black people cannot breathe.”

One of the busiest shopping days of the year was disrupted as these huge crowds descended on the main rotunda of the shopping complex to make their point. “We’re trying to show people that this isn’t going to be the same Christmas for a lot of families because they’ve lost loved ones,” protest organiser Mica Grimm told a local news site.

This comes in a long line of protests happening all across the country’s major retail outlets where many are staging “die-ins” — putting their hands in the air and then lying on the floor. This particular protest was pre-planned on Facebook with an estimated 3,000 people planning to attend. But, despite the peaceful nature of such protest, the Mall of America was quick to object. “We respect the right to free speech, but Mall of America is private property and not a forum for protests, demonstrations or public debates.”

Within 30 minutes of the crowd forming they had issued a warning message on their public plasma screen and requested that people move along.

When that failed, they called the police who then showed up in all-out riot gear. Thankfully no violence broke out, but 25 of the protestors were arrested for trespassing when they continually refused to leave.

At the same time this was all happening in Minnesota, two police officers were tragically shot dead in Brooklyn, New York. Though the attack was unprovoked, reports are now indicating that the now deceased shooter was acting in what he saw as political retribution for the death of Eric Garner.

“Any use of the names of Eric Garner and Michael Brown in connection with any violence or killing of police, is reprehensible and against the pursuit of justice in both cases,” Reverend Al Sharpton has said in response to the crime. “We have stressed at every rally and march that anyone engaged in any violence is an enemy to the pursuit of justice for [these men].”

All this to say that, though it may be Christmas, it’s an all-round awful time for the US.

Feature image via @laflaneuse.