Seven people, including a state lawmaker, were arrested today at a Missouri mall after nearly 100 protesters disrupted Black Friday shopping, according to local media.
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Galleria Mall, located near St. Louis, was forced to close because of the protests, mall security told ABC News.
Protesters entered the mall around 1:15 p.m. local time and help their fists up, chanting "No justice, no profit," an eyewitness told ABC News.
They walked through the mall corridors and entered several stores, including a Dillard's. The protests lasted nearly two hours.
I came to the Galleria to do some Xmas shopping. Everything stopped for a moment, because people were exercising their right to peacefully assemble and protest. While I was waiting for the police to reopen the stores, and let us resume shopping I witnessed a kid who wasn't even part of the protest get slammed against a glass wall, and thrown to the ground by multiple officers. I can say from first hand experience today the people were protesting peacefully, and it was the police who antagonized, and facilitated the violence...THEN THIS HAPPENED. #Stlouislife #blackfriday #protests #stlouis #stlouis #314 #stlouisgalleria
Bruce Franks Jr., a Missouri state representative, was one of the people arrested, according to his legislative assistant, Danielle Spradley.
The eyewitness said the protests were peaceful until the arrests happened.
“Right at the end of the group, police grabbed people. People ran back to try to help, and the police started throwing them down. It got real ugly,” the witness said.
Chris Phillips was at the mall and said he saw five protesters get arrested by police officers.
"It was quite violent. Police officers were pushing people’s faces into the ground and I saw one woman with shopping bags getting tackled, but as far as I saw, nobody was seriously hurt," he recalled.
Earlier this month, African-American clergy members and activists announced a boycott of the Galleria Mall and other business in St. Louis. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the protests were in response to police treatment of blacks, bank loan practices and infrastructure neglect in parts of St. Louis.