Submitted by Miami activists:
On January 30, twenty-five activists gathered near Saks Fifth Avenue in Downtown Miami ready for action. We grabbed our signs, turned on our megaphones, and marched towards the Saks wing of the Brickell City Centre mall. Awaiting us, we found a panoply of guards and police, nearly ten at every store entrance. We knew then that it was going to be a fun day.
We began our peaceful and orderly protest on 8th St by the Saks valet area and entrance, and our impact was palpable. Our chants about the fur trade echoed through the downtown area. Our signs caught looks from countless drivers on this busy artery.
Witnessing our success, the sad, small men in uniform tripped over themselves trying to invent one reason after another why we could not stand on this public sidewalk. We finally tired of arguing, and decided to give them what they were asking for. Marching around the complex to 7th St, we found ourselves chanting by the side entrance of a mall courtyard full of customers enjoying lunch.
Seeing their error, the geniuses in blue went into conniptions. They immediately began threatening arrest, and when asked for cause, said that the people eating didn’t want to hear us. But the last time we checked, protesting on public property near a place of food consumption is not a crime in this country. With American flag patches on their uniforms, these cops and cop wannabes were in a frenzy to deny us our First Amendment rights. Their true objection was not the time, place, or manner of our protest – it was the protest itself. We were not about to be intimidated by these traitors, but realized once again that complying with their illegal requests was in fact to our advantage.
That’s because the remaining street was Miami Ave. On 8th, we had been able to make our message heard by the public. On 7th, by a select set of diners. But on Miami, our voices echoed through the entire mall courtyard.
We stuck around for another hour or so, with the mall cops scratching their heads and erratically throwing Red Bull-fueled tantrums. We knew they had lied to us about applicable laws in the prior areas, but had simply outfoxed them. (And thankfully, gathered their names for our attorneys, should they choose to lie to us and violate our rights in the future.) And our message rang through downtown Miami on behalf of animals on fur farms, with shoppers on every level of the mall coming to the side of the walkway to look down and see what we had to say. With all the harassment, we still kept the message 100% on the animals – all to the great embarrassment of Saks. One passerby even stopped to take a picture with us and show her support.
See you next time, Saks!