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Occupy Wall Street Protesters Give Their Black Friday Tips

By Julie Shapiro | November 23, 2011 1:27pm

LOWER MANHATTAN — Camping out overnight, dealing with large crowds — shopping on Black Friday is a lot like Occupy Wall Street.

While the protesters in Zuccotti Park scoff at the annual post-Thanksgiving materialistic frenzy, they still have plenty of advice to offer deal-hunters on how to safely navigate the crush: bundle up, stake out your territory and avoid confrontation. 

"Don't start things," advised Brendan Reed, 27, a protester from Florida who was in Zuccotti Park on a recent afternoon.

"Don't push people. And if people start pushing you and start freaking out, it's best to know when to just calmly, quietly back away from the situation, because it's really not worth getting stampeded over."

Matt Sky, 27, a protester from the East Village, said that after nearly getting hit in the face during a march, he learned to always keep his hands up, ready to deflect any accidental or intentional blows.

"If you start seeing a big wave of shoving going on, instead of getting excited and trying to see what's going on, get out of the way as much as possible," Sky said.

For shoppers who plan to camp out overnight to be first in line for the pre-dawn deals, protesters suggested boots, gloves and hand-warmers.

"Bring sleeping bags, bring a tent, bring blankets — anything to keep you warm," said Nelson Jancaterino, 21, a protester from Alabama.

And if the going gets too tough, it's a good idea to seek shelter, several people said.

"If you're waiting in line and it's cold out," said McCartney Roberts, 20, from Massachusetts, "do not be afraid to go sleep in a subway station."