Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Police Pepper Spray Peaceful Protestors

One of the protestors pepper sprayed by police.

By Ben Aulakh

“We will not be intimidated off the streets,” that is the message from protestors who were pepper sprayed by police in Central London on Sunday.

More than 20 protesters from direct action group UK Uncut staged a sit-in at Boots on Oxford Street, as part of a campaign to highlight perceived tax-dodging by top high street stores.

A woman, attempting to push a leaflet through the doors of the store was arrested by police for criminal damage.

A number of people stepped in to prevent the woman from being arrested; 10 of whom were sprayed by with the crowd control agent by police.

Anna Williams who saw the incident said, “I condemn the violent behaviour of the police who have attacked a peaceful protest against tax avoidance.

“This is yet another example of political policing that is about protecting corporate interests and not those of ordinary people.

“We will not be intimidated off the streets, we have a right to protest when the government are making unnecessary cuts that will hit the poorest in our society the hardest.”

More than 30 such sit-ins were staged around the country, with arrests taking place at Boots’ in Lewes, East Sussex and in Brighton.

UK Uncut’s campaign is based on claims that stores such as Boots avoid paying millions of pounds in taxes by being registered in countries such as Switzerland.

The protests came on the same day an online poll by as anti-cuts organisation False Economy named Chancellor George Osborne as the ‘Top Tax Shirker.’

The Arcadia group of stores – which owns Topshop – came in second, with Barclays Bank coming in third place in the poll.

The incident is not the first time that the Metropolitan police have been criticised; many have condemned the perceived heavy-handed tactics used recently on student demonstrators.

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