The following article was originally posted on Indymedia Scotland:
On Saturday 18th, Vodaphone and Topshop on Princes Street were shut down by a flashmob of thirty protesters responding to the UKuncut mass day of action against tax dodging big businesses.
A flashmob of more than 30 people gathered at 10am, and moved quickly to occupy Topshop. The flashmob gained entry to the building, and was inside for half an hour, and then blockaded the entrances for a further half an hour. Flyers were handed out to shoppers explaining the reasons for the protest, with the vast majority supporting the action.
Topshop is part of the Arcadia group, managed by Phillip Green, but owned by his wife, who lives in the tax haven of Monaco. This allows him to dodge his responsibilities to pay tax in this country.
The flashmob quickly reconveined at vodafone, outwitting the police, and staging a sit-in at the store for 20 minutes. Threatened with arrest the protest moved outside, but blockaded the entrance so successfully that the store was closed for an hour, while protesters chanted anti-cuts slogans, and sang anti-cuts carols.
Vodafone is accused of dodging £6bn in tax, when it was written off by Her Majesties Revenue and Customs, in an action that shows clearly where the governments priorities lie, and the need for these kinds of protest.
The policing was light, with many officers appearing to tacitly support the protest. Perhaps because of the Lothian Borders recruitment freeze, which means that ‘natural wastage’ will reduce the numbers of police, meaning more work for less officers.
The UKuncut Edinburgh mob will do more actions in the future.