Los Angeles police arrested more than 50 people out of a crowd of 200 protesting what they believe to be unfairly low wages provided by Walmart.
The protest took place Thursday night outside a new Walmart store in Chinatown and was intended to highlight demand for higher wages. It was scheduled to last from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., but dozens of people refused a police order to disperse after their permit expired, keeping the streets closed until law enforcement officials declared an unlawful assembly.
Police then arrested 54 people – including, according to the protest’s organizers, some Walmart employees – without incident, keeping them in jail overnight unless they posted bail.
The protestors’ primary demand is that no full-time Walmart employee earn less than $25,000 a year. Organizers claimed it was the largest act of civil disobedience against Walmart in company history.
The Huffington Post spoke to “one of several dozen” Walmart employees participating in the protest. Anthony Goytia, a 31-year-old father with two children, said he expects to make only $12,000 this year.
"The power went out at my house yesterday because I couldn’t afford the bill," Goytia explained. “I had to run around and get two payday loans to pay for my rent from the first” of the month. "Yesterday we went to a food bank."