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'Justice for Eric Garner' Protest Gains Steam, Crowds Flock to Apple Store, Macy's in NYC

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Manhattan was once again filled with protesters on Dec. 5, with some of them saying that they were also among those who protested against the decision on the Michael Brown case.

This time, the protests were all about the decision of the Staten Island grand jury on Dec. 3. The grand jury opted not to indict NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo in the chokehold death of Eric Garner, who was suspected of selling loose cigarettes.

Protesters began at Columbus Circle and headed first to the flagship Apple Store on Fifth Avenue. As they stormed inside the iconic glass cube, employees and customers gave them a look of surprise and disbelief. They went down the stairs and occupied the shop while chanting "I can't breathe" and "Black lives matter." Later on, the protesters staged a die-in and lied on the ground.

"The CEO of Apple knows we shut his store down -- that means capitalist America is going to take us seriously," said Zandir Santos, a filmmaker. "We are going to shake up your business and we want to hit you where it hurts."

From the Apple Store, the protesters continued and headed to Macy's on 34th Street, where they filed through the store.

On Black Friday the previous week, a small group of protesters also stormed inside the department store. The protesters, who were furious over the jury's decision on the Michael Brown killing, wanted to boycott Black Friday in order to show the purchasing power of black Americans and highlight the connection between racial and economic inequality.

The protesters kept moving and went on to Grand Central Terminal then to Bryant Park. More die-ins were staged as the movement progressed.

The demonstrations, which began on Wednesday, led to 100 arrests then and another 200 arrests the following day, many of which involved civil disobedience.

On the whole, the protests were seen as peaceful and non-violent, with few cases of vandalism. NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton praised the police officers for their acts of restraint during the protests.

"All and all, apart from the significant traffic disruptions, we've been doing OK," said Bratton.

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