E-commerce giant Amazon has been hit with massive interruptions in their operations on one of the biggest shopping days of the year. On Black Friday, traditionally known for huge discounts and sales, members of activist group "Extinction Rebellion" have blocked Amazon depots due to ongoing protests.
According to a report by UK publication The Sun, the members of the activist group are targeting the company's major distribution centres. At least 13 locations have already been affected, with hundreds of thousands of customers potentially facing delays in the deliveries of their bargain purchases.
Footage of a "sit-in" at an Amazon site in Dartford, Kent has been in circulation, with six activists seen flashing a banner that says "Black Friday exploits people and planet."
Essex Police also confirmed that similar scenes are taking place at their local Amazon depot. In a tweet, they revealed: "We're dealing with a protest outside an Amazon warehouse in Windrush Road, Tilbury and engaging with people at the scene to ensure it remains safe. However, we expect the disruption to run into the morning rush hours and we're asking motorists to take some delays into account."
The protests, which began very early on Friday morning, have lasted into the regular working hours. Many of the sites, including one in Bristol, have been blocked and unable to operate since 4a.m. Workers have not been able to gain access into the warehouses due to bamboo towers that protesters have erected to block roads.
Even travellers who are not involved with Amazon may suffer delays after the activist group blocked a road near the airport at Manchester. Police are rushing to restore the proper flow of traffic in the area.
Elsewhere in the UK, similar protests and blockages have been reported in and around Amazon centres in Newcastle, Darlington and Dunfermline.
An extinction rebellion spokesperson has claimed that they are not blocking night shift Amazon employees from leaving the sites. Nevertheless, citizens living near the Amazon distribution centres are livid about the chaos.