Harlesden man convicted of taking part in Fortnum and Mason demonstration
Court hears 10 protestors rushed through doors of luxury department store
A Harlesden man who occupied Fortnum and Mason during an anti-cuts demonstration earlier this year has been convicted of aggravated trespass. Daniel Lichman, 25, of Harlesden Road, and nine other members of the UK Uncut campaign group targeted the luxury department store in Piccadilly on the day of a large TUC march in London on March 26 this year.
London’s City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard protesters organised the occupation of the store on Twitter “as they believe that the store is guilty of tax avoidance.”
Lichman was part of a group who rushed through the doors of the store just before 4pm.
District Judge Michael Snow told the court: “The scene inside the store was chaotic. Protesters were shouting and screaming at a very high volume.”
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Megaphones were used and, having overwhelmed the police officers who were trying to keep them out of the store, protesters took over control of its door.
Some of the demonstrators were masked and many carried placards and were handing out flyers, District Judge Snow said.
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Other protesters hung banners while drums were beaten, horns were sounded and bagpipes were played.
Tents were erected and volleyball was played across the displays.
Some goods were stolen from the store during the occupation, some were damaged and others were swept on to the floor.
Tape bearing the words “closed by UK Uncut” was wrapped around the outside of the store and around displays.
A number of staff were meanwhile subjected to chants of “pay your taxes”.
As a result of the protest, the store suffered lost sales amounting to �54,581, the court heard.
Lichman and eight others were given a six-month conditional discharge and ordered told to pay �1,000 each towards costs.
The tenth person, who was already subject to a conditional discharge for a separate offence, was given a six-month conditional discharge, ordered to pay �1,000 towards costs and fined �200.