More than 150 people rallied outside Macy's Herald Square on Black Friday to protest a grand jury decision in Ferguson, Missouri, not to indict a police officer in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teen.
Protester Haley Broughton-Jones said the message is simple: Diminish Black Friday profits, and perhaps governments will take notice.
The protesters briefly stopped traffic before returning to the sidewalk. Some entered Macy's, but many of them wanted to stay outside and chanted, "Out of the store, into the streets!"
The protesters then began to march up Sixth Avenue, blocking traffic, and arrived at Times Square. They then turned back to go Herald Square as police motorcycles cleared the street ahead for them -- but then stopped because they didn't want to go where police were leading them.
They continued this way several times as they marched, stopping and starting, changing direction each time they saw police ahead of them and running to try and lose them.
They returned to Macy's later, chanting "Hands up, don't shop!" as they walked through the store, then exited on the opposite side and camping out by the entrance.
Macy's shopper Lolita Harris said the demonstrations made her take notice.
The Black Friday protest began peacefully, and activists largely coexisted with shoppers. But later, some ralliers became more bold and challeged police officers, blocking traffic at intersections. Seven people were arrested, police said. There were no reports of any injuries.
Mostly, police allowed the civil disobedience, to the dismay of frustrated drivers.
"I don't think it's going to do anything economically to anybody. People are still going to shop. They were out at 3, 4 in the morning," said Chip DiBenadeto, who sat in traffic near the Macy's protest. "I mean, if it's going to bring attention to the situation, good. If anything positive comes out of it, fine. But I just want to go home."
Macy's had no immediate comment.
Despite the inconvenience, even some shoppers applauded the activists. Thelma Harris, who traveled from Memphis to shop at Macy's on Black Friday, remembers the civil rights movement in the '60s and said economic protests worked.
"I participated in those civil rights demonstrations when I was in college, and people listened then," she said. "I think this will cause people to listen."
The rally was one of many by Ferguson demonstrators across the nation on Black Friday. In the St. Louis area, dozens of people began trying to interrupt shopping at major retailers Thanksgiving night and and continued early Friday. They spent a few minutes at each store, shouting inside.
On Thursday, six protesters were arrested at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Five were charged with disorderly conduct and one with unlawful assembly, police said. A seventh person was issued a summons for disorderly conduct.
Thousands of protesters took to New York City streets on Monday and Tuesday after a grand jury decided not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown.
Ten protesters were arrested in Times Square on Tuesday.