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Sun 30th Jan 2011
Added on Tue 18th Jan 2011, 9:47pm — last updated Thu 24th Mar 2011, 7:38pm
Boots: The Chemist vs The NHS
Bringing the Health Service Cuts to Boots
In June 2008, Boots moved their headquarters to Switzerland, making them considerably more "tax efficient". False Economy estimates that the tax they pay on their profits has fallen from around 33% to 3% - now that's what I call efficient!
This has allowed them to retain roughly £150m per year which would otherwise have gone to the treasury and could be used to fund the health service, which is currently in desperate need of support.
On January 30th, Big Society Revenue and Customs will double up as the Big Society Health Service, and will show Boots what their avoided tax could be being spent on by setting up our own hospitals in Boots stores.
We'll be educating the public on the issues of tax avoidance (legal but morally questionable), and the government's plans for the NHS (not put to the electorate, and widely criticised as being dangerous).
This is your opportunity to dress up as doctors, nurses, patients, and of course executives of pharmaceutical companies - you can get into this role by wearing a suit, and bringing bags of money. Medical props are to be encouraged - we do want our hospitals fully equipped, after all.
The target is Boots, 361 Oxford Street. It's virtually next door to Bond Street tube station, on the Central and Jubilee lines (both of which are scheduled to be running fine over the weekend), so easy to get to.
Be in the store by 1pm. On the signal, bring the hospital to Boots!
Please read this blog post to get some ideas about how you want to get involved, and what to do when you get there.
For hours, everything was going to plan. We got Boots shut down with us inside to pose for photos and sing tax-themed songs. We then moved outside to greet our fellow protesters and media before moving down to shut vodaphone, BHS and Topshop. We then headed back to Boots, which is where the problems started.
Splitting up to close as many shops as possible, I found myself outside Vodaphone. We were singing and joking around; running back whenever they attempted to reopen. We were, at least, until the police warned us of arrest for ‘Possible Breach of the Peace’. Simply for running on a pavement and singing? This is what our country has come to.
It was when we headed to Boots, though, that I was truly shocked. The girl who I had been speaking to inside the shop was speaking to police. I would like to explain now that this was the same girl who had expressed worry for being stuck inside. Hardly a criminal anarchist. They then arrested her for criminal damage.
Of course, this caused outrage amongst us. Protesters followed the police as they lead her away, chanting ‘Shame on you’ and ‘Let her go’. I stayed back with several others, yelling to the public and media and explaining what was going on. This was when I started hearing screams, and call for water. When I turned around, I found a sight I never thought I would see on an English street at a democratic peaceful protest.
People were sitting on the ground desperately trying to wash water into their eyes and milk (given for free by Ben’s Cookies, to whom we are all incredibly grateful) onto their skin. I went over to find out what had happened to be told that a certain police officer (Cw2440) had sprayed CS directly in people’s faces. There was no violence, other than this.
After this, all you could hear was yelling and sirens.
70 riot police in vans showed up, for what reason I do not know. All that was happening by now was chants, flyering and attempts of treatment. Those affected worst were then taken into Boots where they were treated for free. By the people we were protesting against! 30 minutes later, we finally have an ambulance on the scene which took three who were got in the eyes away.
And the damage? http://yfrog.com/h5oapkrj Rubber is slightly displaced from where a leaflet was posted through. It was pushed back into place.
This hasn’t been a particularly coherent post but I felt the need to get this out quickly.
Indymedia London : Reports and Picshttp://london.indymedia.org/articles/7170
Pics: ukuncut shut Ox st Boots in NHS cuts action
Police pepper spray ukuncut protesters
Video: UKuncut Action At Boots (B4 Pepper Spray)