Last night, citizens from all over the United States took to the streets. They brought tents and sleeping bags, and their message was clear: they weren’t going anywhere. These patriots camped out in front of Best Buy and other large chain stores, taking up entire sidewalks with their fearless demonstration. In light of the recent police crackdown and eviction of Occupy Wall Street protestors in Zuccotti Park, Occupy Best Buy was already on tenuous footing at best. Still, Black Friday’s demonstrators were not be intimidated, and stood fast in their fight for cheap televisions and gaming systems.
The police presence at Occupy Best Buy (which trended on Twitter with the hashtag #OBB), was noticeable. Officers walked up and down the demonstrators’ campsite, prepared to keep an orderly line flowing into the store at any cost. When asked about the heavy police presence, one demonstrator joked, “The cops? It’s bullshit, man. I just hope they don’t get between me and my Xbox.” Clearly, claims from the movement’s detractors that the occupiers don’t know what they want have been constructed to delegitimize the movement. The collective sentiment from those who adamantly occupied the store’s entrance with tents and lawn chairs was clear and focused: “We want cheap electronics, and we want them now!”
Serious health hazards at the Occupy Best Buy encampment also became an issue, but
the police could not evict the occupiers. The People won the day. Even as gun shots rang out at a North Carolina branch of the event, the police only investigated briefly and let the occupiers continue their demonstration. It is rare indeed to see the police facilitate the public expression of the People with such eagerness, and they should be commended. Of course, pepper spray was used as well. One demonstrator pepper sprayed numerous others, including children. Despite the demonstrable concerns over safety hazards at Occupy Best Buy, the demonstration avoided eviction. A true victory for free speech.
One can only hope that other political demonstrations can be as popular and successful as Occupy Best Buy was last night. Clearly, protestors must avoid the pitfalls of Occupy Wall Street (volunteer sanitation and security teams, and a free public library) that resulted in the demonstrators’ eviction from Zuccotti park, and try to look more like Occupy Best Buy. Viva la revolución!