What happens when a national protest movement tries to disrupt a holy temple of consumerism on one of the biggest shopping days of the year?
Shoppers will find out Saturday afternoon, when a horde of protesters organized by Black Lives Matter tries to take over the rotunda at the Mall of America. See also: Idle No More Flash Dance Brings More Than 1,000 Protesters to Mall of America [VIDEO]
Over the last week mall officials and the Bloomington police have been trying to convince organizers to move the demonstration to a spot outside next to the parking ramp. That was a no-go.
"It's not a very visible spot and we won't be heard," says Michael McDowell of Black Lives Matter. "It just seems very disrespectful to this movement that's been happening nationwide.
"It'd be great if Mall of America was in support of the Black Lives Matter nationwide movement, but ultimately they've shown they are not, which is unfortunate because we feel corporations play a huge role in shaping policy."
The mall, meanwhile, doesn't seem excited to play host.
"We respect the right to free speech, but Mall of America is private property and not a forum for protests, demonstrations, or public debates," execs said in a written statement. "We have consistently and continually prohibited all manner of groups -- regardless of cause or message -- from protesting and demonstrating on our property."
Anyone attempting to protest will be kicked out and banned for one year. Bloomington Police did not respond to several interview requests.
[UPDATE 4:30 p.m.] Bloomington PD Deputy Chief reached out to say they are continuing to keep lines of communication open, but would not comment further.
McDowell expects about 2,000 people to show up. More than 1,800 people have already RSVP'd on Facebook. On the menu will be Christmas caroling and speechifying.
"We would like our guests to know that we are taking this matter very seriously," the mall's statement says. "Guests will notice an enhanced security presence on that date and throughout the holiday season. Our priority is to keep guests, employees, and tenants safe and secure."
"Right now we have open lines of communication, but we're not really sure what's going to happen," counters McDowell.
Send news tips to Ben Johnson.