SAN LEANDRO (CBS/AP) — Wal-Mart workers and supporters were protesting at a number of stores nationwide and throughout the Bay Area, blasting the wages, benefits and treatment of employees of the world’s largest retailer.

A union-backed group called OUR Wal-Mart said it held an estimated 1000 protests in 46 states. The exact number is unclear. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has refuted the estimate, saying the union grossly exaggerated its figure and that the protests involved few of its own employees.

The protests and walkouts were scheduled to culminate during the key holiday shopping weekend.

KCBS’ Bob Butler Reports:

In Southern California authorities arrested a small group of protesters at a Black Friday demonstration outside a Wal-Mart store in southeast Los Angeles County.

Elizabeth Brennan of Warehouse Workers United said nine people, including three Wal-Mart employees, were arrested shortly after noon Friday for blocking the street outside the store in Paramount.

Sheriff’s Capt. Mike Parker said the arrests were pre-planned and peaceful.

Parker said that at one point more than 1,000 people blocked traffic outside the store and deputies issued an order to disperse. Most immediately obeyed but the small group remained to be arrested.

Shoppers continued to come and go during the demonstration.

It was one of several protests held around the nation on one of the nation’s busiest shopping days to publicize labor complaints against Wal-Mart.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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