More than 50 "Occupy" protesters stood outside Renton’s Walmart on Friday afternoon calling for an end to corporate greed and what they called unfaithfulness to Walmart employees. The protesters, mostly from the Occupy Wall Street campaign, filled the sidewalk to the main entrance of the store chanting to customers coming and going.
Event organizer Neal Bernstein, from Federal Way, said, “This protest is not against the city of Renton nor Walmart employees, but against Walmart’s unfaithfulness to its employees.” Bernstein said the Renton Walmart was selected because of its proximity to the Occupy Seattle group, and that the Renton store is more visible than the Federal Way Walmart; that location is said to have the highest volume of sales, according to Bernstein.
Many of the protesters said people should shop local, away from corporate greed. Saturday has been dubbed "small business Saturday, when consumers are urged to shop at small businesses. (Read previous coverage .)
Walmart management along with deputies from the King County Sheriff’s Office watched over protesters; a plain-clothes Renton Police officer was seen observing from the parking lot. The sheriff's deputies were on contract to provide additional security during Black Friday sales.
Once the main part of the rally was over, Occupy protesters went inside the store to thank employees for giving up their Thanksgiving holiday to be at work.
There were no incidents between Walmart management or police during the protest.