Eight UK Uncut protesters charged with trespass last year after occupying Fortnum & Mason’s Piccadilly shop have been cleared.
The group were taking part in protests against government spending cuts last year when they targeted the luxury food store based on a belief that owners were avoiding tax. Despite the protest remaining a peaceful one, participants were apparently misled by police and eventually kettled when they left the shop. The store claimed the group’s action cost them £54,000 in lost sales.
The case has attracted criticism, with separate groups of Fortnum & Mason protesters being charged, while others were cleared. One activist avoided criminal charges because she was carrying 16 leaflets instead of 20.
Last week, 400 UK Uncut protesters formed a dole queue outside Downing Street to highlight increasing unemployment under the government’s austerity measures.
Photo by teddave in the Londonist Flickr pool