An attempt by anti-capitalist demonstrators to converge on the British supermarket chain Tesco on May Day was stopped by police…
The Rhythms of Resistance samba band, dressed in bright pink wigs and clothing, entered the Tesco store on Morning Lane in Hackney, east London, on the afternoon of 1 May.
The 20-strong ‘sambaistas’ struck up heavy and fast beats while a group of 30 other activists from the University of London Union Anti-Authoritarians unfurled a large red banner that said: “You have nothing to lose but your chain stores.”
One protestor, known only as Megaphone Man, urged customers to “take something back” from the Tesco store because “they can afford it”.
The surprise action caught authorities off-guard after ‘open-intelligence’ from the Metropolitan Police said the May Day demonstration would be tame in comparison to previous years.
The May Daystunt, organised by the Precarity Group, a part of EUROMAYDAY, was widely advertised with posters and flyers, but the time and location was only announced minutes before, using text messaging.
According to a spokesperson for Rhythms of Resistance, the point of the Precarity Group was to highlight the hyper-exploitation by multinational companies of workers on short-term or part-time contracts, on low pay and with little or no employment rights.
“Tesco is an exemplary example of these working conditions,” he said.
“They were in the news last week announcing £2bn profits. They seemed the ideal place for the action.”
The Tesco manager and store security tried to curb the protest. When the protestors failed to leave the police were called in to disperse the situation.
Scotland Yard press office said 10 people in all were arrested, eight on minor public order offences, one for theft and one for possession of an offensive weapon. All those arrested were later released.
A spokesperson for Tesco said the safety of their staff and customers is paramount.
“We are therefore pleased that the disturbance on Sunday was dealt with efficiently and peacefully by both our staff and police,” he said.
Several thousand supporters of global workers` rights, anti-fascist and anti-war protestors poured peacefully into Trafalgar Square after marching through the capital from Clarkenwell.
The afternoon ended with live music organised by Unite Against Fascism. R&B signer Estelle, and Pete Doherty, the controversial ex-lead singer of the Libertines took to the stage in front of excited crowds.
In Parliament Square, the `Space Hijackers` – a group of so-called `Anarchitects` who disagree with the commercialisation of public space in London – gathered to play cricket on the green.
Its members – famed for organising spontaneous parties on London underground trains – had personally invited all 600 MPs from the Houses of Parliament to join them.
However, none arrived to participate.