LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - More than 50 people demanding better wages for Wal-Mart workers in a protest organized by a union activists were arrested outside the retailer’s store in the Chinatown section of Los Angeles on Thursday night.
The protesters were taken into custody without incident after refusing an order by officers to disperse, and would be held overnight unless they posted $500 bail, said Detective Gus Villanueva, a Los Angeles Police Department spokesman.
Glen Arnodo, staff director of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, which organized the demonstration, said the intent was to draw attention to what he said was Wal-Mart’s role in income inequality.
“Wal-Mart really perpetuates and epitomizes the unequal distribution of wealth that we have in this country right now,” Arnodo said.
He said most of the demonstrators taking part in the peaceful protest were union members, including teachers and nurses, but also included community activists and others.
Wal-Mart spokesman Kory Lundberg said all Wal-Mart stores in Los Angeles County remained open and fully staffed despite the protests as the world’s largest retailer prepared for the busy Christmas shopping season.
“We’ve seen time and again there are virtually no (Wal-Mart) associates participating in these orchestrated events because they know the truth about working for Wal-Mart,” Lundberg said,
“We provide our associates with more opportunities for career growth and greater economic security for their family than many other companies in America,” he said.
Additional reporting by Lucy Nicholson; Editing by Peter Cooney