Demonstrators target Walmart on Black Friday c.2013 The New York Times

Demonstrators target Walmart on Black Friday c.2013 The New York Times

Workers' rights advocates in Massachusetts and nationwide didn't show up at Walmart stores on Black Friday to shop, but to protest the giant retailer's labor practices.

Demonstrators gathered in parking lots of some 40 Walmart stores across the state, including in Quincy, Chelmsford, and Lynn. ÂNationwide, anti-Walmart demonstrations were planned for 1,500 stores.

"This is a show of support to say that we stand with the workers in their attempts to fight for better wages and working conditions," said Russ Davis, executive director of Massachusetts Jobs with Justice, a group that campaigns for higher wages and one of the organizers of the protests in Massachusetts. Davis's group, which was part of a coalition that helped block Walmart from opening in Boston, helped organize similar Black Friday protests last year.

Walmart was not surprised by the protests, company spokesman David Tovar said in a statement. He defended the pay and benefits Walmart offers, noting only a few Walmart employees participated in demonstrations.

''Walmart provides wages on the higher end of the retail average with full-time and part-time associates making, on average, close to $12 an hour," said Tovar. "It's businesses like Walmart that can create opportunities for career growth and greater economic security for families."

Michael B. Farrell