Hundreds of protesters rallied in Herald Square and blocked Manhattan streets on Black Friday, as demonstrations were held nationwide to protest a grand jury's decision not to indict the police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
From about 1 to 8 p.m., groups of nearly 1,000 protesters marched from Times Square to Herald Square, and then to lower Manhattan.
The bustling crowd outside Macy's and the chime of Salvation Army bells were quickly replaced Friday afternoon by chanting protesters and bullhorns.
Chanting "hands up, don't shop" and carrying signs saying "out of the stores," protesters shut down Broadway as they marched to Times Square and then went down side streets through traffic. It marked the fifth day of protests in Manhattan since the Ferguson decision was announced Monday night.
NYPD officers made several arrests for blocking intersections and crossing streets illegally. At Herald Square, police arrested three people after officers said they disobeyed orders. Police did not give the total number of arrests.
The protests were mostly peaceful, with dozens of officers and police motorcades keeping watch of marchers.
About 200 protesters marched last evening through TriBeCa, headed to One Police Plaza, chanting, "While you're shopping, kids are dropping." When they reached NYPD headquarters, nearly twice as many officers surrounded about 100 protesters.
The protests were organized by the Rockaway Youth Task Force and the Million Hoodies Movement for Justice. Organizers sought to draw attention to the shooting of Brown, 18, who was black, and the decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson, who is white.
Tommy Wozniak, 22, of Hempstead joined the protest, holding a "Blackout Black Friday" sign.
"I think it's a day across the nation that holds people's attention," Wozniak said.
"In the wake of this police brutality shift in our culture, people should take this meaningless day and pay attention to something that's important. We're going to . . . make them pay attention."Elsewhere Friday, demonstrators temporarily shut down two large malls in suburban St. Louis.
Organizers said they targeted Black Friday, one of the busiest shopping days of the year, to show African-American buying power and redirect attention to civil rights issues. They said blacks nationwide have a spending power of $1.1 trillion.
/yes/vg"People are not buying stuff and making an actual impact economically," Ari Joseph, 32 of Brooklyn, said. "Hopefully they start thinking with their pocketbooks as the only way to effect change."
The protesters' message wasn't always clear, ranging from Ferguson to Black Friday to police brutality to oppression and Nelson Mandela.
Groups of visitors were caught off guard, some filming the roving group of activists blocking streets and sidewalks.
Lori Unilever, of Leonia, New Jersey, was suddenly surrounded by protesters as she waited in Times Square to buy Broadway tickets.
"We're puzzled. We don't know what it's all about," Unilever said. "This is a strange location for it."Black Friday protests also took place in Chicago, Seattle, northern California and other U.S. cities.
"We want to really let the world know that it is no longer business as usual," Chenjerai Kumanyika, an assistant professor at Clemson University in South Carolina, said at a rally at a Walmart in Manchester, another St. Louis suburb.The rallies have been ongoing since Monday night but have grown more peaceful over the week, as protesters turn their attention to disrupting commerce.