Bristol targets workfare, report from saturdays day of action

On Saturday dozens of Bristolians joined more than twenty towns around the uk and responded to a call out from local anarchist & left organisations to target companies profiting from the workfare scheme. Whilst many of the ‘usual suspects’ were absent (worn out from four demos on the Friday!), 36 people attended and it was no less loud, fun or effective than the last. Plus it was nice to see some new faces!

The demo arrives at Holland & Barrett (the UKs only healthfood company to use slave labour)

We started the tour of workfare providers with Holland & Barrett in Cabot Circus, escorted by half a dozen police and a number of private security. The shop quickly closed after our unstoppable onslaught of leaflets, chants, and reggae, hiphop & punk courtesy of a wheelie bin sound system.  During the day we gave out 100s of leaflets and spoke to loads of people, the only negative receptions we got were from security and managers.  The staff at greggs couldn’t resist smiling at the exchanges inside their shop.

“oi, did you get us a belgian cream while you were in there?”
“no sorry, it was a bit warm so I couldn’t afford it!”

There was a great balance between being loud, disruptive and confrontational whilst making it clear to the workers that we were on their side, and getting information out to the shoppers passing by.
The demo ended in the galleries where the head of security told us we ‘were making a racket’, we responded with ‘that’s not a racket THIS IS A RACKET‘, que several minutes of shouting, chanting, a cranked up to max sound system, and a siren on a megaphone.  Glad we could set him straight there.

Bristol Police at a 2010 student demo showing their favourite way of dealing with protest.

Afterwards a police officer thanked us for being peaceful. We retorted by thanking Avon and Somerset police constabulary for not randomly pushing, arresting and assaulting people like they did at the last demonstration, and pointed out how much less violent things are when the police don’t show up and start acting violently.  We thought they would’ve learnt that last year at stokes croft, but I guess we need to keep reminding them.

Whilst the list of organisations who participate in workfare continues to shrink, we’ll keep on fighting untill its down to zero, watch this space for more actions…

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One comment

  1. Pingback: Report on 31st March Action Against Workfare in Lincoln « Lincoln Underground Collective

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