Police defend corporate criminals: arrests at Edinburgh Uncut action

Denouncing tax dodging by big companies and opposing cuts in public services, people took action at Boots, Vodaphone and BHS shops in Edinburgh on Saturday 28 May.

Imaginative street theatre saw tax avoiding bosses detained by the Big Society Revenue and Customs Inspectors.  But police acted to defend the tax-dodging criminals against Edinburgh Uncut's protests, arresting, detaining and charging two women.

After several hours of peaceful protest at three city centre shops, police suddenly grabbed two women at British Home Stores on Princes Street. One woman fell to the ground. Police twisted her arms behind her back and handcuffed her, causing her pain and distress. The prisoners were taken to St Leonards and people quickly descended on the police station in solidarity, numbers later swelling as around 40-50 people arrived from the Reclaim the Night march. The women were released after around 5 hours in custody. Both were charged with Breach of the Peace and the woman who was hurt by the police was also charged with “Resisting Arrest”.

Solidarity with the two women arrested: outside St Leonard's police station

CORPORATE CRIMINAL ARRESTED

Action had started earlier at Boots on North Bridge, where staff and customers alike were astonished as Boots boss Stefano Pessina paid an surprise visit to the store. However his boasts that he had avoided millions in tax by closing down Boots HQ in Nottingham, sacking all the workers, and replacing it by a PO box in Switzerland provoked outrage and angry shouts of “You're a class enemy!” Big Society Revenue and Customs Inspectors quickly moved to detain the corporate criminal, handcuffing him and holding him behind crime scene tape. His pathetic pleas that he would shop his fellow swindlers in the boss class if shown leniency were ignored.

Boots boss Stefano Pessina in handcuffs after his detention by Big Society Revenues and Customs in the Boots North Bridge store

Meanwhile passers-by eagerly took leaflets explaining how giant companies were robbing the public of billions in tax while the Condem government falsely claimed their coffers were empty and ordinary people had to suffer cuts. Tax avoidance loopholes allow the rich to escape paying an estimated £100 billion every year. Only one third of UK companies paid tax in 2009!

Vodafone on Princes Street was the next target. The shop was effectively closed down as crime scene tape was held across the entrance by the ever-industrious Big Society Revenue and Customs Inspectors. Vodafone recently avoided £6 billion in tax with the connivance of the government.

GREEDY GREEN

As more police arrived, a circuitous route was needed to reach the next destination, British Home Stores. Police had made an arrest at the last protest here, and people were determined that repression of dissent would not succeed. A banner proclaiming PHILIP'S GREED revealed that BHS boss Philip Green had avoided all tax on a £1.2 billion bonus by making the payment to his wife, whose registered residence was in Monaco. The multi-billionaire, whose retail empire includes brands such as Topshop, Topman, Dorothy Perkins, Burton, Miss Selfridge and British Home Stores, has registered his massive Arcadia Group of companies in his wife's name, in order to dodge tax.

An initial foray into BHS cafe saw shoppers and workers responding positively to the CUTS ARE NOT THE CURE! leaflets. After increasingly heavy handed police and security forced protestors outside, focus switched to the main Princes Street entrance.

While some protestors leafleted outside, others, including one bearing the Edinburgh Uncut flag, advanced into the BHS store. Police, security and managers blocked the way, and a lengthy Mexican stand-off ensued within the actual shop. More protestors entered the shop and started giving out leaflets to largely sympathetic shoppers, some of whom even turned round and refused to enter the shop when it was explained what was happening. “We've got sales targets to reach,” a manager lamented, futilely ordering the protestors to leave.

“WE WON'T BE INTIMIDATED”

Police behaviour took a turn for the worse after Inspector Dignant arrived to take charge. Demonstrators were ordered to leave the store, and as they were being forced out two women were suddenly grabbed and handcuffed, one woman being hurt by the police as described above, her hands handcuffed behind her back. Inspector Dignant refused to remove the handcuffs from this woman as she lay on the ground surrounded by police, despite protests from fellow protestors that she was being hurt. Large numbers of passers-by stopped to watch, some joining in the denunciation of the oppressive police behaviour.

The five hour picket of St Leonards police station which followed was reinforced by demonstrators from the Reclaim the Night march opposing violence against women. As chants to free the prisoners rang out, one demonstrator told Indymedia: “It's important we came here, all these struggles are connected.”

One participant in the Edinburgh Uncut actions told Indymedia: “I think we must organise more actions like this, linking up with all the different anti cuts struggles. We have to show them we won't be intimidated.”

Meanwhile Saturday saw UK Uncut actions all round Britain, including in Glasgow and Dundee, many focusing on the cuts in the NHS and banks' profiteering. There were also arrests in Manchester, where police detained nine people.

CONTACT:

Edinburgh Uncut

UK Uncut

Corporate criminal Pessina sacked workers at the Boots HQ in Nottingham and registered the company HQ in the Swiss canton of Zug to save millions in tax: now detained by the Big Society Revenues and Customs, he awaits proletarian justice....

AttachmentSize
2011-05-28_boots2.jpg73.08 KB
st-leonards2.jpg75.72 KB
2011-05-28_boots1.jpg76.78 KB

Comments

Re: Police defend corporate criminals: arrests at Edinburgh Uncu

By AF

First Anonymous:

UK Uncut are trying to reach out to all sectors of society (except multi-national tax dodgers, of course). The public are not morons in my thinking but many of them would be unsympathetic towards what they would see (and the majority of the press would report) as masked thugs.

Masking up may have its place but not as part of UK Uncut. The philosophy of UK Uncut (as I understand it) is to take its message to everyone in as peaceful and unconfrontational way as possible. It is just a part of the struggle we all face and is as valid a way of protesting as any other.

And many of us will continue protesting against any injustices in whatever way is appropriate.

Second Anonymous:

Not sure about you. Are you just some right wing troll or a copper who's learned how to type? And is there much of a difference?

Re: Police defend corporate criminals: arrests at Edinburgh Uncu

By Anonymous

Am in two minds about these protests. Are they just students and 'professional' protesters or are they real folk who have/ or may lose their jobs? Whatever their rights and wrongs though, the folk who fckd up the economy and who are destroying people's livliehoods deserve our wrath much more.

If you want targets though, how about COSLA? They seem to be threatening public services a lot these days. An unelected waste of tax money.

http://tocasaid.blogspot.com/2011/06/gay-girl-in-scottish-education-blog.html

Re: Police defend corporate criminals: arrests at Edinburgh Uncu

By Anonymous

Mask up and dearrest next time.

Re: Police defend corporate criminals: arrests at Edinburgh Uncu

By AF

Masking up wouldn't work with these actions. We don't want to intimidate the public or the shop staff.


The aim of UK Uncut is to make people from all walks of life aware that a handful of very rich individuals are avoiding paying their dues and that the government is not only neglecting its responsibility by not closing these tax loopholes and ordering the payment of all owed back-payments, but are also then giving tax-evader such as Philip Green governmental advisory roles.

Masking up would be seen as an act of aggression and the public would quickly turn against us. We have nothing to hide. We're the good guys.

Re: Police defend corporate criminals: arrests at Edinburgh Uncu

By Anonymous

 

Anonymous wrote:

Masking up wouldn't work with these actions. We don't want to intimidate the public or the shop staff.


The aim of UK Uncut is to make people from all walks of life aware that a handful of very rich individuals are avoiding paying their dues and that the government is not only neglecting its responsibility by not closing these tax loopholes and ordering the payment of all owed back-payments, but are also then giving tax-evader such as Philip Green governmental advisory roles.

Masking up would be seen as an act of aggression and the public would quickly turn against us. We have nothing to hide. We're the good guys.

I don't see masking up as aggressive. I see it as a sign of intelligence in this insane society we live in.  I guess the public are complete morons in your thinking.  Will you keep protesting if these tax evaders paid their tax even though they pay poor people almost nothing and destroy our planet at the same time? 

Re: Police defend corporate criminals: arrests at Edinburgh Uncu

By Anonymous

what a waste of time uk uncut is, the level of discourse is shockingly poor even by anarchist standards, the last comment is fairly typical. the idea that the police are wrong to arrest someone who is disturbing the peace in a shop is well biased, it is sad to read again and again (with dissenting voices removed by the conservative indymedia cadre of course) of the fury this entirely lawful and reasonable action has provoked, why the should the shop staff, police or public tolerate this bullshit? just because a few hooded tossers will it? pretty selfish point of view. why not go and get jobs if you're so determined to help the economy?

Anonymous wrote:

 

Anonymous wrote:

Masking up wouldn't work with these actions. We don't want to intimidate the public or the shop staff.


The aim of UK Uncut is to make people from all walks of life aware that a handful of very rich individuals are avoiding paying their dues and that the government is not only neglecting its responsibility by not closing these tax loopholes and ordering the payment of all owed back-payments, but are also then giving tax-evader such as Philip Green governmental advisory roles.

Masking up would be seen as an act of aggression and the public would quickly turn against us. We have nothing to hide. We're the good guys.

I don't see masking up as aggressive. I see it as a sign of intelligence in this insane society we live in.  I guess the public are complete morons in your thinking.  Will you keep protesting if these tax evaders paid their tax even though they pay poor people almost nothing and destroy our planet at the same time? 

Re: Police defend corporate criminals: arrests at Edinburgh Uncu

By Anonymous

what a waste of time uk uncut is, the level of discourse is shockingly poor even by anarchist standards, the last comment is fairly typical. the idea that the police are wrong to arrest someone who is disturbing the peace in a shop is well biased, it is sad to read again and again (with dissenting voices removed by the conservative indymedia cadre of course) of the fury this entirely lawful and reasonable action has provoked, why the should the shop staff, police or public tolerate this bullshit? just because a few hooded tossers will it? pretty selfish point of view. why not go and get jobs if you're so determined to help the economy?

Anonymous wrote:

 

Anonymous wrote:

Masking up wouldn't work with these actions. We don't want to intimidate the public or the shop staff.


The aim of UK Uncut is to make people from all walks of life aware that a handful of very rich individuals are avoiding paying their dues and that the government is not only neglecting its responsibility by not closing these tax loopholes and ordering the payment of all owed back-payments, but are also then giving tax-evader such as Philip Green governmental advisory roles.

Masking up would be seen as an act of aggression and the public would quickly turn against us. We have nothing to hide. We're the good guys.

I don't see masking up as aggressive. I see it as a sign of intelligence in this insane society we live in.  I guess the public are complete morons in your thinking.  Will you keep protesting if these tax evaders paid their tax even though they pay poor people almost nothing and destroy our planet at the same time? 

Re: Police defend corporate criminals: arrests at Edinburgh Uncu

By Denis Law

Dear anonymous

you wrote:

"I don't see masking up as aggressive. I see it as a sign of intelligence in this insane society we live in.  I guess the public are complete morons in your thinking.  Will you keep protesting if these tax evaders paid their tax even though they pay poor people almost nothing and destroy our planet at the same time? "

Personally I think there are actions and demos where it is sensible to mask up, however as AF said, the UK Uncut actions are not such actions - people are communicating with shoppers and passers-by, giving out leaflets and chatting, and masking up would almost certainly put people off.  By the way the reaction of the "public", once it was explained what was going on, was generally v supportive of the protest.

About de-arresting folk, again personally I think this is an excellent thing to do if the balance of forces are such that it can be done successfully (if they are unfavourable it can of course result in more folk getting nicked).

I think your last point is very important -  the whole capitalist system is based on the legalised robbery of the poor, and the insane rush for profits is destroying the earth through global warming.    It would be a mistake to think that it is sufficient to reform the system by reducing or even eliminating tax avoidance - so to me these actions are about building opposition to the very existence of big business and exploitation.

all the best Denis

 

 

 

Re: Police defend corporate criminals: arrests at Edinburgh Uncu

By Anonymous

 quote: a few hooded tossers???!!!

 

It's for people like you that these good people are trying to defend your rights! I think you are the selfish one here, as long as you are alright screw everybody that's out of work and being made to work for the pittance they get in benefits aih?