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Report of Guildford Anti-GAP Action

S@G | 05.12.2001 22:31

On Saturday 1st December (World Anti-GAP Day) 11 activists from Surrey Activist Group (SAG) protested against GAP and Starbucks.

The day began with the group assembling outside Guildford train station and walking into town. When we reached GAP we collected outside and started leafleting all customers entering or leaving the stall. It took a while for GAP to notice this, so some activists took this opportunity to go and speak to members of staff inside the store. When we found out that GAP had noticed our presence we split into 2 groups and started to leaflet the GAP Kids about 10 metres up the street as well as the main store. This seemed to wind up some GAP managers, who ran erratically between the stores.

The late arrivals entered the stores with a small bundle of folded up leaflets and spent about 15 minutes putting leaflets in pockets of clothes and swapping price labels on goods. After about an hour of leafleting we were down to our last 50 or so leaflets (of about 500). The two groups reassembled outside the main store and then entered it armed with leaflets. We stormed past the individual member of staff on the door and put leaflets in pockets of clothes, on displays, in piles of jumpers, more or less anywhere we could find. GAP staff working on the shopfloor seemed interested and asked for leaflets.

With the group fresh out of anti-GAP leaflets we decided to go and pay a visit to a Starbucks where we had been physically threatened ("I'll take my apron off...") several weeks earlier. We gathered outside the shop with only 40 leaflets and only leafleted people going in (so Starbucks would notice us). After about 10 minutes a manager came out and demanded that we moved "right away from the shop". As we know our rights we stepped off the pavement (looked like Starbucks owned it) onto the pedestrianised road and continued to leaflet. The manager still shouted at us asking us to leave but wouldn't say how far away or why. When we told her that we wouldn't be leaving she disappeared back into the shop and started talking to the other manager. After about 5 more minutes we ran out of leaflets and decided to retreat to the nearest pub for a meeting.

Next Action:

Guildford is in the heart of the Southeast and is the home to thousands of commuters. Guildford has 2 Starbucks, 2 GAP's, 2 McDonald's, a Nike franchise, and a Disney Store, as well as lots of small fashion boutiques. The weekend of 15th December is one of the busiest weeks of the year as it is when most people do their Christmas shopping. The two GAP stores in Guildford have the second biggest turnover for GAP after their Oxford St. store and the Christmas shopping period is when they bring in the most of that money. We in SAG have been regularly demonstrating against these corporations since the WTO meeting in Qatar on 9th November but would like to make a larger presence felt. Because of these reasons SAG will be taking to the streets on Saturday 15th December and we invite you to join us. We will be demonstrating in Guildford town centre at the height of the Christmas shopping period, on the weekend after the EU Summit in Brussels. We will assemble outside Guildford main train station at 1:00pm. Please bring flyers, flags, banners, & friends.


P.S. This is a demonstration not a paper sale.

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