UK: Protests against Vodafone tax evasion across Britain
Coalition of Resistance, Guy Taylor
At least 22 Vodaphone stores were shut down around the UK on Saturday (30 Oct) by the direct action of people angry at the tax dodging telecoms company. Private Eye has calculated the company have come to an agreement with the Exchequer that excuses them of a £6 billion tax bill.
Meeting on Saturday morning at Speakers Corner, around 200 activists marched down Oxford Street to the first of three Vodaphone stores on Europe’s busiest shopping street. Instantly, it’s doors were locked, a printed sign posted on the door “We’ve had to close this store temporarily. You can shop online …” (no, we’re not giving out their web address). Leaving 40 people there to maintain the stores new-found closure, we marched to the next one, the flagship store and scene of Wednesday’s original protest. Security guards and shutters greeted us.
Next, the last one on Oxford St closed just as easily. Bouyed by these successes, and by news of other similar actions coming in from around the country, we progressed to the Tottenham Court Road shop – Shut. On to Covent Garden – likewise.
Despite the ease of seeing the stores close, the highlight of the action was the reaction of shoppers and passers-by. Learning about the tax dodging of Vodaphone, the anger and support for the actions was obvious and often vocal. For many it was the realisation that the cuts weren’t the only option posed by the coalition government.
One woman said “That’s appalling, but I suppose it’s typical in this day and age. In this together? Yeah right!”
Through the day Vodaphone stores were closed down in Central London (x5), Glasgow, Edinburgh, Manchester, Liverpool (x2),York, Leicester, Oxford (x2), Brighton (x2), Worthing, Hastings, Weymouth, Bristol (x2), Brixton. Not bad, given these were planned at three days notice.
More actions like this are needed – they are excellent ways of practically showing where the problems lie and that the cuts aren’t inevitable.
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