Some Occupy New Port Richey members didn’t get their entire message out after they started a flash mob in the crowded food court of Gulf View Square Mall in Port Richey on Black Friday.
They were interrupted by security and law enforcement shortly after they began decrying consumerism and corporate influence on politics. Some members who were the last to interact with security did get through the whole performance, according to an Occupy member who posted a video on Youtube.
The Occupy members left and moved on to a nearby Wal-mart, in which they performed the complete routine.
The Gulf View Square Mall is owned by Simon Property Group.
"We remain committed to providing the best shopping experience at Gulf View
Square,” Luke Aeschliman, mall manager, wrote in a statement. “To ensure the safety of our shoppers and employees, we maintain a no-tolerance policy for inappropriate conduct."
Occupy New Port Richey is a
Occupy Wall Street, the first Occupy group, has been criticized for a lack of uniform, official demands, but its members decry multinational corporations and big banks, their influence on government and corporate greed.
Occupy groups in different parts of the country also planned Black Friday protests this year.
The small group of Occupy New Port Richey members gathered in the mall in Port Richey shortly after noon, some of them consuming food purchased at the mall. They waited and then gathered in a circle in one corner, speaking loudly for their flash mob.
In a flash mob, people assemble at a public or private place and blend in with everyone else. At a pre-planned moment, unknown to passersby, people start dancing or singing together or doing some other kind of performance.
The Occupy New Port Richey flash mob was called “Mic Check” and it started thusly:
“Mic Check! Mic Check! Everything is OK. Corporations need your money so they can buy your politicians to pass laws that benefit the corporations. You are not a human being. You are a consumer. Don't worry. Just keep shopping. America doesn't need a middle class.”
Before most of the Occupy members present could get much further, mall employees, security and Pasco County Sheriff's deputies arrived. The Occupy members willingly walked away from the food court.
Dan Callaghan, a West Pasco activist and Occupy member, said mounted deputies were outside the mall. Nobody was arrested, he said.
Occupy members went to the Walmart off U.S. 19 and Ridge Road in Port Richey and recited the whole script inside the store, Callaghan said. He said there were no arrests, and there was no interference from store personnel security.
Then they went to to the Southgate Shopping Center in New Port Richey and recited the script outside the new Chase bank there, focusing on vehicles stopped at the traffic light.
Before going to the mall, 16 Occupy New Port Richey members gathered at Sims Park to rehearse the flash mob.
“You have to laugh,” Angela Hadley, a member since the group was founded, said to the members. “You have to cry. But consumerism is the American religion.”
Stan Klein, who stood reading his copy of the speech at one of the mall kiosks, said he is retired and living in the New Port Richey area. He said he is dismayed by problems in the country, such as cynicism of politicians who are misapplying the laws.
“I’m a Korean War veteran,” he said. “I serve my country. I believe in my country. And I’m just disheartened.”
The Sheriff’s Office received a call from the Best Buy at the mall about people protesting at the store entrance near the food court around 12:30 p.m., according to Kevin Doll, spokesman for the sheriff’s office.
“We told them to move along, and they did,” Doll wrote in an e-mail. “I don't believe any arrests were made.”
*Article updated with information unavailable at the time of writing.