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by IMC in the field
Monday, Mar. 11, 2002 at 8:22 PM
In one of the most inspired and riveting demonstrations in the past few months in Los Angeles, around 500 people virtually took over the Santa Monica promenade this evening with a dramatic and well-received demonstration and march calling for a Boycott of the Forever 21 clothing line in specific, and an end to all sweatshop labor practices in general!!!
The event began with a picket outside the Forever 21 retail outlet located in Santa Monica Place off of Broadway (the south end of the promenade). There, the huge crowd of demonstrators jammed the side-walk on both sides of Broadway.
After picketting outside the shopping mall for roughly 30 minutes, the demonstrators set off on a march that moved the entire length of the promenade, which itself was jam-packed with pedestrians. Around 500 people participated in the march, which was led by a banner that read Boycott Forever 21 and was carried by three workers. Immediately behind the banner was a fifteen foot tall brilliant-red puppet (made by the Art and Revolution collective) that called for justice for all workers.
After travelling the length of the promenade, the march moved west to Ocean Avenue for a thirty minute rally. And then the group reformed into as march and headed back to the promenade for a "Walk of Shame," in which the demonstrators focused their chants at each of the outlets (Guess, Bebe, Old Navy, Banana Republic, Disney, and, of course, the Gap) where the clothes are produced by sweatshop labor. Starbucks and McDonald's also drew some (well-deserved) ire from the marchers.
Among the demonstrators were around 70 members of the Coalition of Imokalee Workers (CIW) who have come to California from Florida as part of the Taco Bell Truth Tour. The CIW has organized a Boycott of Taco Bell to call attention to the sub-poverty wages and sweatshop conditions suffered by the farmworkers who pick the tomatoes used by the giant restaurant chain. The Forever 21 demonstration/march was the final event of today's Rise Up 2002 conference at UCLA called for by CIW (see LA-IMC's brief midday report from the conference at http://la.indymedia.org/display.php3?article_id=15453).
Tomorrow, the CIW workers are leading a march on Taco Bell's world headquarters in Irvine, California. For information on the march go to http://www.ciw-online.org or check out the calendar listing on the front page of this website.
For more information about the Boycott of Forever 21 go to http://www.sweatshopwatch.org/swatch/gwc/f21.html
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