It was meant to be a peaceful protest for anti-cuts to public sector jobs in central London today. Yet a breakaway group of protesters clashed with officers outside Piccadilly and Oxford Circus, attacking the TOPSHOP flagship store in anger towards Arcadia owner Sir Phillip Green.
250,000 people from all over the country took part in the TUC organised march from Victoria Embankment to Hyde Park. Yet 500 people gathered in Oxford Street and a hardcore, small group of 150 focused on the flagship store throwing light bulbs filled with ammonia, fireworks and paint balls.
Crowds chanted " Billionaire's pay your tax/ We want our money back/ Where does it all go?/ It gets shipped off to Monaco!/ " in reference to Sir Phillip Green's apparent actions to dodge paying UK tax by paying money into his wife's Tina's bank account in Monaco. Sir Green is the 9th richest man in the UK currently and his estimated worth in 2008 was 4.4 billion, yet it is reported that he has saved £285 million by way of his complex tax avoidance scheme.
Sir Phillip Green has commented in the past, "I'm a UK tax payer. I work here every week. We employ 45,000 people in the UK and we have got a £500m payroll."
One exasperated protester said at the scene today, " We are told that are services, our jobs, everything in the public sector is being cut because there is no money. Yet if the government decided to collect the tax that was due to this country there would be no need for these cuts against the vulnerable."
Today's actions echo the UK uncut activists protest against TOPSHOP in December amidst the student protests.
Ed Miliband commented that there was "no excuse" for today's violence.
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