monopoly_money.jpgThe throngs of holiday shoppers at Union Square today–bent on hunting down the best deals, ice skating and eyeing the kittens in Macy’s windows–were greeted by protestors with agendas of their own.

In Defense of Animals, an animal rights organization, greeted visitors to the square with signs and banners declaring today to be “No Fur Friday.” Group members dressed in bloody-looking body suits, formed a grisly tableaux representing a pile of skinned animals and urged shoppers to leave the furs on the rack.

“Animals on fur farms are killed in unimaginable ways,” said Hope Bohanec, a group spokeswoman, who noted that around 50 million animals each year are killed for their fur. “There’s no regulations, (fur producers) can do whatever they want.”

Most shoppers walked past quickly, but some paused to take photos of the protest or chat with a group member holding a sign. Bohanec said public response had been mostly positive and she had only seen a couple people actually wearing fur so far today.

Elsewhere on the square, the sound of solemn drums heralded a march by the Bay Area Women in Black, a group opposing the U.S. occupation of Iraq and the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. The group marched in silence and carried signs reading “No war in my name.”

Both groups said the Black Friday protests were an annual event.

“The shoppers are out, and it’s the beginning of fur season,” Bohanec said. “It’s a good time to reach people.”

Later in the afternoon, several dozen people from the Occupy San Francisco group reportedly blocked traffic on Geary Street in a protest against consumerism. Officers were assigned to accompany the march, according to police.

Sara Gaiser, Bay City News

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