Saturday, 28 May 2011

South Wales Topshop occupied against rich tax avoiders

Protest calls for an end to NHS cuts

Dozens of protesters occupied Topshop in Cardiff City Centre in protest at the cuts to the NHS while billionaire business people like Topshop’s owner Sir Phillip Green avoid paying tax.

UK Uncut activists joined with members from Cardiff Against The Cuts, socialists and other anti capitalist campaigners to occupy Topshop’s flagship store in Wales in Queen Street for about an hour. Security personnel grappled with peaceful protesters as Topshop management closed the store.

Hundreds of shoppers and protesters gathered outside the store as a standoff with the police developed. Supporters of the occupation explained that billionaires like Sir Phillip Green avoided paying tax in this country, while the ConDems are forcing through cuts in spending on services like the NHS. Unsurprisingly most shoppers supported the protest.

Green for example gave himself a bonus of £1.2 billion, but paid it to his wife who is registered as a resident of Monaco and so avoided paying tax in Britain. Had he paid the very low top rate of tax of 40% on that one bonus that would have yielded nearly £500 million for the NHS.

The UK Uncut occupation coincided with a number of protests in Cardiff city centre. Some Spanish students had organised a Democratia Real Ya rally in support of youth occupying squares in Spanish cities against unemployment. Cardiff Against the Cuts organised a “Busk Against the Cuts” and Socialist Party members were campaigning against the £1.9 billion being cut from the NHS in Wales. All four campaigns came together at the protest at Topshop.

After about an hour the occupation ended peacefully as the protesters marched out of the shop chanting “No Ifs, No Buts, No NHS Cuts” to loud applause.

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