2011-02-03 - Walmart Protesters Outnumber Supporters - Gothamist

Anti-Walmart Protesters Vastly Outnumber Pro-Walmart Boosters
The Gothamist
February 3, 2011
By Surekha Ratnatunga


There was supposed to be a battle of the protests before this afternoon's twice-postponed City Council hearing on whether New Yorkers should allow Walmart's corporate wickedness to taint our saintly city, but it ended up being a one-sided fight.

In the blue corner (quite literally, given how cold it was), so many people turned up at the anti-Walmart protest at City Hall, police had to deny entry to a few dozen people waiting in the security line. (Some of those anti-Walmart protesters who couldn't get in ended up taking ironic refuge from the cold in a Starbucks instead.) Ben Shephard from the cavalier-looking group Time's Up summarized his views as, "New York is bigger and smarter and richer and cooler than Walmart."

In the red corner, Pamela Geller and her pro-Walmart/anti-Mosque minions were hardly noticeable. Police officers and City Council ushers didn't seem to know who she was, let alone where. On the block outside the hearing there was a grand total of three pro-Walmart protesters (who mistook the Time's Up guys for Tea Partiers thanks to those fetching tri-corner hats). 33% of Geller's following expressed fears that, "people with pro-terrorists badges were stopping her from getting inside," but she managed to overcome those obstacles.

Looking bored about an hour into the hearing, she told us, "I signed up to testify, but I can't stay here till 3 a.m. We're not the professional Left. The City Council has the deck stacked against Wal-Mart." She excused her protest's low turn out on the fact, "people had to return to work." Some bystanders had difficulty understanding the relationship between the Ground Zero Mosque and Walmart. "Wait—so some people want to build the Walmart where the Mosque is supposed to be?" Sad answer is, probably.

Oh, and as for the hearing itself, Speaker Christine Quinn and her colleagues were less then impressed by Walmart's decision to not RSVP to their party. For anyone who stayed awake for the start of the hearing, we learned from a study that those most susceptible to Walmart's kiss of death are toy, electronic, drug and hardware stores.