St Louis (US), Nov 29: US protesters forced a crowded St Louis mall to close, marching through the complex demanding a boycott to post-Thanksgiving shopping and justice for an unarmed black teenager killed by police. Scores of demonstrators, including young children, shouted "No justice, no peace," and "Stop shopping and join the movement" at the St Louis Galleria Mall, on Friday.
Around 100 people lay on the floor for several minutes to symbolise the more than four hours that 18-year-old Michael Brown lay in the road after being shot dead by a white police officer in the St Louis suburb of Ferguson.
A grand jury on Monday said it would not indict the officer who killed Brown, sparking arson and looting in Ferguson. Some shoppers and store staff looked bemused, while others filmed or photographed the protest, or else clapped and shouted their support.
Black Friday comes the day after America's Thanksgiving holiday and sees stores offering steep discounts, leading to often-frenzied consumer spending. Protesters carried placards saying "No Shopping As Usual" and "#Blackout Black Friday." Some shops initially stayed open, but others locked their doors or shuttered as a precaution.
A worker at the mall management office initially said the closure was temporary.
Officials said that the closure at the mall was temporary
But police officers told AFP they had been ordered to clear the building. By that stage the protesters had already left. A shoe store manager told AFP that police ordered the closure for public safety. "It ain't my decision," said Luke, who didn't want to give his last name.
"The police thought it was in the best interest of our customers and our product to close down," he added. Even before the closure, protesters claimed success in getting a handful of individual shops to close.
"It is now a movement and it is spreading across the country and around the world.Black Friday is the next step," said journalist and activist Kymone Freeman from Washington.
"Hopefully we'll see more of this. I think Black Friday protests will continue throughout the Christmas season," he added.