A large crowd assembled outside BHS on Oxford Street, with police carefully guarding the entrance. However since BHS no longer use workfare the crowd made their way down Oxford Street with police attempting to flank both sides of the demo.
It was too little avail however and a crowd ducked the throngs of police who decided to guard McDonalds to visit Pizza Hut instead where people remained for around 20 minutes closing them down and making speeches outside.
Then it was over the road to Holland & Barrett which was briefly closed, until people ran down to McDonalds at Tottenham Court Road where several people gained entry despite police and a Mcdonald’s manager violently shoving demonstrators around. At one point the crowd began to move away with police in hot pursuit, only for protesters to double back and re-enter Mcdonalds.
The most common chant was “if you exploit us we will shut you down” and this proved to be correct as people then headed back up Oxford Street where Holland & Barrett were briefly occupied and Pizza Hut over the road once more had a baying mob outside. A brief occupation of the Oxford Street Plaza followed with protesters blocking the entrance with a large banner, and then people were on the move again.
As ever police seemed to suffer from a lack of intelligence and as they scrambled to protect Top Shop (so last year darling), protesters veered off Oxford Street down back streets to Holiday Inn whose lobby was briefly occupied. The day finished outside the hotel, with around 20 police all crammed onto the steps blocking anyone from coming in or out.
Tactically the day was a huge success with a fast moving mobile crowd that managed to cause repeated disruption to the workfare sharks. A great job from Boycott Workfare and everyone else involved. We will be back.