More than 100 protesters gathered outside a Wal-Mart in Paramount on Friday morning, carrying U.S. flags, wearing “We are the 99%" T-shirts and toting signs that read, “I want to work full time.”
About a dozen Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputies looked on as members of the crowd began to chant, “This is what democracy looks like!” Others yelled, “Si se puede.”
The protests were part of a larger wave of demonstrations outside Wal-Mart stores across the country, led by the Organization United for Respect at Wal-Mart, an group pushing for higher wages, better healthcare and more consistent hours at the retail chain. Organizers said 1,000 protests took place Friday.
Wal-Mart said 26 protests occurred nationwide and involved fewer than 50 workers.
As Diane Valencia exited the Paramount store with a small bag full of sweaters and fleece pajamas, she listened as a protester handed her a flyer.
“I haven’t started Christmas shopping yet, but I don’t think I’m gonna come here,” Valencia said. “These are human beings, they should be treated fair.”
Valencia, who has four children, said she expects to spend about about $1,000 on Christmas gifts. She said her budget is tight this year as prices for household goods and food continue to rise.