by April Foster
While most families spent the long Thanksgiving weekend feasting and/or shopping, the folks at Occupy Boise continued looking for ways to spread their message amidst the holiday furor. On Black Friday protesters took to a handful of Boise's busiest intersections with anti-consumerism messages. They also organized a zombie walk through Boise Towne Square.
For Thanksgiving, Occupiers said they enjoyed a hearty meal at their encampment.
“We had a handful of people here, a smoked bird and some other people donated other pre-cooked birds. We served it up to anybody that was ready to eat when we had food out,” said Edward “Mud” Watters, a cook at the encampment. He noted that there were about 30 people there.
Friday's planned intersection actions weren’t met with much enthusiasm. At the corner of Emerald and Milwaukee streets, three protesters waved signs that encouraged consumers to buy local or make homemade gifts. But Citydesk couldn't find Occupiers at Eagle Road and Fairview Avenue or Franklin Boulevard and Milwaukee Street, two other planned protest sites.
Later in the day, about a dozen protesters gathered at the mall for a "zombie walk" to demonstrate what Occupiers called the zombie-like nature of Black Friday.
“I think that this nation’s media has turned the mass populous into mindless consumers,” said Paul Johnson, a member of the group.
The zombies didn’t get very far though. They were met by law enforcement on arrival and told that they couldn’t stay.
“We talked to an officer and he explained that constitutional limits do not apply within the mall,” said zombie protester Kelly Schutt. “Free speech does not apply because it’s private property, and they can essentially make up their own rules. So we did a march all around the mall and sang carols and picked up all the garbage we could along the way.”
A couple of the Occupy Boise members at the encampment objected to the Black Friday actions, noting that they felt the protests weren’t in tune with what the movement is trying to accomplish, but they declined to speak any further about it with Citydesk.
Schutt explained his reasoning behind the protests, stating: “People are feeling pain from their economic consumption. We’ve axed 50,000 factories in the last 10 years. Almost all of the products at the mall are made overseas in terrible working conditions, and those used to be good American paying jobs that allowed people to hang onto their homes and get their families health care and things like that. So when we go and just keep buying into a system that’s disenfranchised the majority of the working and middle class, we’re not helping things at all.”