New iPad Launch Met By Protests Outside of Apple Stores

Massive crowds outside of Apple retail stores are nothing new. But today, as long lines wrap around Apple stores from coast to coast, there are other groups – non iPad buyers – gathering in sizable numbers outside the stores too.

On Friday morning, a substantial throng of protesters  flocked to their nearest Apple store to protest the working conditions in Asian factories that produce Apple products, like the new iPad which is being launched today amidst record fanfare.

This latest wave of protests follows labor rights activist Mark Shields’ efforts in early 2012 to start a petition in hopes of making Apple more accountable on issues of worker rights and fair wages.

“Apple hasn’t crossed the finish line yet,” Shields said recently. “New product releases, like the iPad 3 this week, have typically been the most dangerous for workers because of the incredible pressure they are under to meet release production deadlines.”

So far, 250,000 people have signed their names to his petition, which asks Apple to work more proactively to prevent human and worker abuses in the factories of Apple supply partners in Asia.