These days it's not so easy to tell if Santa's being naughty or nice.
A protest on behalf of Walmart workers in Ontario, Calif., led to the arrest of up to 10 people Friday, among them Karl Hilgert, who dressed up as Santa Clause for the event, according to The San Bernardino Sun. The protest was one of around 1,500 planned nationwide Friday accusing Walmart of providing employees unfair wages and working hours. The matter is serious for those protesting, but Hilgert's attire did make for a more amusing photo opportunity:
— Warehouse Workers (@wwunited) November 29, 2013
This is the second year protesters have come out in support of Walmart workers on Black Friday with the help of OUR Walmart, a group advocating for Walmart workers. Some protesters at the Walmart in Ontario carried signs reading "25k," which is the yearly wage protesters are requesting workers be paid, according to the Los Angeles Times. OUR Walmart claims that, like Hilgert, protesters in nine cities are practicing civil obedience. Protesters have been arrested in several cities including Chicago and Alexandria, Va., according to CNN.
“I'm going to get arrested for civil disobedience,” Hilgert told San Bernardino Sun.The retailer company also claims OUR Walmart has "paid off" protesters with $50 gift cards, according to Salon -- though the National Labor Relations Board recently deemed the practice a "non excessive strike benefit" and therefore legal.
"We’re not surprised that those trying to change our industry are using this platform to get their message out, and we respect their right to be heard," Walmart said in a statement about the protests. "We expect some demonstrations at our stores today, although far fewer than what our critics are claiming and with hardly any actual Walmart associates participating."