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Protests greet shoppers at Wal-Marts nationwide

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Wal-Mart workers and supporters marched in protest at a number of stores nationwide Thursday and Friday, blasting the wages, benefits and treatment of employees of the world's largest retailer.

The efforts seemed to do little to keep shoppers away, though — Wal-Mart said it was its best Black Friday ever.

In Paramount, Calif., authorities arrested a small group of protesters Friday outside a Wal-Mart. Elizabeth Brennan of Warehouse Workers United said nine people, including three Wal-Mart employees, were arrested shortly after 12 noon for blocking the street outside the store in Paramount. At one point, however, more than 1,000 people blocked traffic outside the store, Sheriff's Capt. Mike Parker told KNBC-TV.

In Lakewood, Colo., shoppers hesitated as they passed dozens of protesters outside a Wal-Mart but entered without incident. Some protesters held signs playing off of the retailing giant's corporate slogan, "Live better," accusing the company of corporate greed and underpaying its workers.

"This is the way you get a fair shake. You've got to fight for it. You've always had to," said protester Charlie May, of the Industrial Workers of the World labor organization.


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