Organised by Norfolk Community Action Group and UKuncut, campaigners gathered outside the Norwich branch of Barclays Bank for a noisy but peaceful demonstration against the alleged tax avoidance by the bank. Norwich, UK. 12/02/2011
A demonstration took place outside Barclay's Bank in Norwich today, by people who wanted to highlight the fact that in a time of severe cut backs large financial institutions, who had been bailed out by the British public, were still awarding themselves big bonuses.
Their aim is to direct their protest at all the big banks in turn, while also trying to highlight those who have an ethical approach to finance and direct the public to move their accounts to these banks.
They were angry that a government heavily backed by these institutions had introduced tax legislation, almost unnoticed, that would, as they saw it, give Britain the softest offshore tax system in the world.
They said that tax breaks for the rich are at the expense of cuts for the rest of society and some bank CEOs were using the term "tax efficiency" as a cover for tax avoidance. The cuts are affecting many voluntary agencies and reducing care provision, including closure of "Sure Start" centres and affecting the "Connections" projects which help the most vulnerable children and young people. The vulnerable are being targeted by government as they are seen as "soft targets" and less able to challenge the cuts.
Demonstrators felt that the Tories were, ideologically, less willing to re-distribute wealth within the economy.
I spoke with several individuals who didn't represent any particular group or organisation but felt strongly about the current situation and wanted to bring these issues to the attention of the public.
The protest passed off peacefully, customers were not prevented from entering the bank and the security guards employed and the police were mere bystanders as business continued as normal.