Police arrested 23 people outside a Los Angeles-area Walmart protesting what they say are the company’s low wages and its retaliation against employees who pushed for better working conditions.
Hundreds turned out for the rally — both employees and supporters alike — on Thursday evening. The event began with an earlier sit-in strike at the company’s Crenshaw Boulevard store in Baldwin Hills, then moved on to a Walmart location in Pico Rivera. The crowd grew, and some sat down in a circle in the middle of the busy intersection. This drew Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputies to take action, pulling the protesters to their feet and taking them away to be loaded into a bus.
Local news station KTLA 5 covered the event and interviewed a woman sitting among the protesters. She gave her name as Denise, and said she was willing to get arrested in protest of what she called “retaliation” against her fellow workers.
“We have a lot of associates who spoke up and were fired, and we need to stop it,” she said. “I have two sons and it’s their future that I’m concerned about, mainly. Wal-Mart is setting the trend for all companies. If we don’t change it now, the future of our youth is in dire straights.”
The 23 people arrested were cited for failure to disperse and then released, Sergeant Raymond Cardenas of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office in Pico Rivera said, adding that protesters had been blocking an intersection.