Gallery: Workers And Rockers Turn Out to Protest Plans For A Walmart In Chinatown
Walmart workers, laborers, rock stars and politicians all turned out in Chinatown yesterday to protest Walmart's plans to open up a "Neighborhood Market."
Protesters held up signs and chanted that Walmart is a scourge on the areas where it sets up shop. Some protesters, like Tom Morello of "Rage Against the Machine," expressed fears that the location would ruin Chinatown. He told the Associated Press, "This historic neighborhood will be utterly gutted if Wal-Mart comes here."
Some of the local businesses also expressed worries about how the new grocery store might affect their businesses, although the Chinatown Chamber of Commerce supports the Walmart.
Walmart spokesman Steven Restivo said that residents of Los Angeles County end up turning out to shop at the locations. He estimated 170,000 in the county were shopping at a Walmart yesterday and told the AP: "Clearly, the vast majority of customers see Wal-Mart as part of the solution when it comes to things like jobs, healthier foods and sustainability."
House representative Judy Chu showed up to the protest and called upon politicians to return any contributions from Walmart, according to Blogdowntown's Twitter feed. The top mayoral candidates for Los Angeles have pledged to turn down any campaign money from Walmart. An ordinance by the city council meant to stall the project failed, because Walmart already had already made sure the permits were approve. But labor officials have appealed that move, and the AP notes that a hearing on the issue is expected later this summer.
Here's Morello singing "This Land Is Your Land" with the crowd:
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