This weekend, Edinburgh Uncut decided to make the most of the fantastic weather by taking the opportunity to do a bit of outdoor protesting in Princes Street.
You might have already worked this out from the subtle clue on our Facebook page, but our special visitor was Death. Sponsored by the coalition government, the Grim Reaper himself had come to help usher our public services into the next world.
Our first stop was BHS, where Death – who bravely stuck it out all afternoon in a heavy, black cloak – and a group of Uncutters who each represented a different public service facing cuts, lined up in front of the shop. Death then stalked along the line, killing off vital public services, accompanied by a megaphone narration, and attracting a broadly supportive audience of shoppers. Most people seemed receptive to our message and our tactics; there were even some children who wanted to have their picture taken with Death.
After visiting Topshop and Vodafone, all that playing dead on a baking hot pavement was starting to take its toll (what can I say – we’re all a bunch of work-shy soapdodgers who are unused to that level of exertion), so we decided to strike out into new territory and take our protest into the air-conditioned surroundings of the St James Centre. It was the first time we had ventured out into this particular shopping centre, and I think we were all quite impressed by the facilities: it was a far more comfortable temperature than the street outside, and had very clean floors, which are always appreciated when you’re staging a die-in. Unfortunately, the security guards didn’t seem so impressed and tried to make us stop when we had barely started, but luckily there was a member of the public who was willing to stick up for us. Apparently we have to write in advance to ask for permission if we want to highlight tax dodging in a shopping centre, so we queued up at the customer service desk to get all of the appropriate information before we left.
Lothian and Borders Police were conspicuous by their absence; we only saw two of them all day, and apart from a quick visit at Topshop and Vodafone, and then again at the St James Centre, they seemed happy to leave us to our own devices. Perhaps after all of the fuss with arrests recently, they’ve remembered that we’re not a threat to the general public.
Refreshed by our brief trip indoors, we headed off to the final stop on our tax-dodger tour: Boots. The die-in was performed again, we handed out the last of our publicity materials, and then gracefully retreated to the pub before dehydration set in.