Yesterday's protests by the UK Uncut group turned ugly after police used CS spray to arrest an activist. Others were hurt in the incident which, according to the Guardian, 'hospitalised' three people.
Around 20 demonstrators gathered outside a branch of Boots on Oxford Street to rail against the company's tax bashfulness. Despite being one of the UK's most familiar high-street brands, the chain is registered in Switzerland where taxes are lower. Good business sense, perhaps, but not the best PR-winner in these troubled financial times. A Boots spokesperson explained the Swiss housemaking thus: "in the longer term we believe it will better reflect the increasingly international nature of our wider group".
The Oxford Street store was forced to close by the sit-in, one of several organised around the country by UK Uncut. But the demonstrators' ire turned to the police after at least one officer used CS spray to break up the group. In a nod of rapprochement, those affected were initially treated inside Boots (hopefully not in their magical homeopathic section). UK Uncut have condemned the police action.
The UK Uncut group is an unstructured band of activists who use social media to organise activities. Their targets include Vodafone, Topshop and any other large companies who they perceive as tax-dodgers.