In an act of civil disobedience, establishing that the protest is non-violent is thought to be a good idea.
That way, when someone on the other side -- usually, the authorities -- starts, say, whacking people with a stick, it's clear which party has the moral high ground.
One way to signal you're not a threat? Start singing. Christmas carols, maybe.
That was the approach taken by retail janitors, organizers with Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en Lucha/Center (CTUL), and "allies" who showed up at the Eden Prairie Center mall to demonstrate last week. They were there to put pressure on the Kohl's department store chain which, they claim, is falling behind mega-stores like Target and Best Buy when it comes to contracting for janitor services.
As seen (well, heard) in the video below, this message was delivered through singing Christmas carols with lyrics reworked to fit the occasion. This one's to the tune of "Angels We Have Heard on High":
"Service workers need a raise/Yes their wages need a hike."
OK, so, it's not quite as poetic as the original. It's not as if they're trying to form a union of songwriters.
Shortly after the singing got going, a mall security guard charged the group and took it upon himself to help the demonstrators vacate the premises. He did so by pushing, pulling, punching (sort of), and poking them, sometimes with the aid of a drumstick he'd apparently grabbed away from one protester.;
Workday Minnesota says CTUL still wants Kohl's to meet with them to discuss adoption of a "Responsible Contractor Policy," but now they also want an apology for the rough treatment protesters got from this guard.
Says Veronica Mendez-Moore, a co-director with CTUL:
"We were singing songs and walking through the mall and he began to get very aggressive. He was obviously not in the holiday spirit. Eventually the police came and escorted him to a back room and allowed us to finish our caroling as we exited, but not before the security officer pushed several members of our group and even punched someone."
Wait, is punching someone for singing not in "the holiday spirit"? Guess some people celebrate Christmas differently than others.
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