NEW YORK -- A group of about 12 people who say they're part of the Occupy Wall Street movementin front of Apple's flagship Manhattan store on 5th Avenue, members of the group told CNET.
Shiloh Coral, 22, and Thomas Volanos, 21, said they joined the ranks of Apple fans this evening to protest the company's labor practices in China, as well as what they see as the commercialization and waste that the company and its gadgets represent.
An Apple spokesman was not immediately available for comment. We will update as soon as we hear back.
Coral and Volanos wouldn't say exactly what form the protest might take or when it was scheduled, but one group member said that on Twitter and other social networks, organizers have begun referring to the demonstration as "Occupy Apple."
Apple is scheduled to begin selling the iPhone 5 on Friday at 8 a.m. On Tuesday, most of of the country's top newspapers and technology news outletsand nearly all were favorable. A few analysts have predicted that the iPhone 5 will blow away previous iPhone sales records.
Obviously, it isn't good timing for Apple if OWS disrupts the iPhone 5 sale at one of its most prestigious and high-profile stores, or again dredges up one of the biggest controversies the company has faced recently.
In the past year, Apple has been heavily criticized for not doing more to prevent mistreatment of workers at plants in China where iPhones and iPads are constructed. The New York Times in January exposed multiple labor abuses at the plants, including low wages and long hours.
Apple has said it is serious about improving working conditions. In March, Apple CEO Tim Cook visited one of the plants and asked the nonprofit Fair Labor Association (FLA) to investigate conditions at the facilities in China operated by Foxconn, the company that makes some of Apple's products. FLA has since reported that Apple ison improving conditions.
Volanos and fellow OWS member Yoni Miller 18, say Apple forced labor at the plants.. They cited , attempted suicides and
As for the protest, Volanos said that while most people think of protests as a bunch of people yelling, OWS is focused more on "opening up discussion that people normally wouldn't be exposed to."
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