Nonviolent demonstrators denounce tax avoidance by British firms (and get arrested for it)

03.04.2011 - London - Silvia Swinden

On March 26th the TUC (Trades Union Congress, the federation of trade unions in the United Kingdom), organized a demonstration in London attended by an estimated half a million people, the largest since that against the Iraq war in 2003. The march was in protest at the draconian cuts in services including health, education, housing and welfare by the British Government whilst reducing taxes for corporations and abandoning any plans to prevent the banks from continuing paying obscene bonuses and salaries to their top executives.

A group of nonviolent demonstrators from a group calling themselves UK Uncut occupied the Fortnum and Mason luxury store in Piccadilly to bring attention to the stores tax avoidance strategies, as they had done before with other big corporations. In spite of their actions being acknowledged as nonviolent and not causing any damage (see video in The Guardian website: [www.guardian.co.uk/uk/video/2011/mar/28/fortnum-mason-protesters-uk-uncut-video](www.guardian.co.uk/uk/video/2011/mar/28/fortnum-mason-protesters-uk-uncut-video)) the protesters were arrested after being promised by the police they would not be detained if they agreed to leave peacefully.

After the main demonstration it was reported that a total 200 arrests due to violent clashes had been made. In fact a tiny group of protesters left the march and went on to break windows in banks and shops of multinational groups (their intentions clear to everyone from the beginning of the demonstration as they were all dressed in black and had their faces covered). However around 150 of that total of arrests turned out to be the peaceful UK Uncut demonstrators, lumped together with the violent ones, and perhaps disingenuously suggesting that going on marches is a risky and unpleasant business, rather than the joyful party and celebration of creative good humor that this demonstration really was, with slogans such as the teachers Union’s: *“education cuts never heal”*.

A video of the UK Uncut action can be seen at: [www.youtube.com/watch?v=okj-4TJi3F0](www.youtube.com/watch?v=okj-4TJi3F0)

Categories: Europe, Politics

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