Anti tax avoidance campaigners say they were victims of “heavy-handed” tactics during attempt to stage peaceful demonstration at UK festival

U2

Criticised: U2 employ tax avoidance schemes

Campaigners protesting against U2′s tax avoidance schemes say they were the victims of “heavy handed” and “totally unnecessary” security action at the Glastonbury festival on Friday.

Pressure group Art Uncut planned to stage a demonstration during the Irish band’s headline set at the UK event, drawing attention to their belief the band shouldn’t be avoiding tax payments in their native country while it needs all the financial help it can get – and while frontman Bono continues to call for western leaders to spend more on aid abroad.

When protestors began to inflate a balloon bearing the slogan “U pay your tax 2″ a number of security guards quickly moved in, and although no severe injuries were reported one campaigner suffered a broken finger.

Claudia Graham, 23, told the Guardian: “It was over the top. They were really quite violent – they broke my finger and they had one guy round the neck.

“We linked arms to create a barrier, but the guards burst through us while I was hanging on to a guy next to me. It was totally unnecessary.

“You should have the right to put up whatever banner you like.”

In a statement Art Uncut said: “If they can get away with it, the wealthy establishment hire heavies to crush dissent. We wanted a dialogue with U2 – instead we got heavy-handed security tactics.”

Glastonbury organisers deny there was any violence, saying: “There was an agreement for them to have their banner inflated as long as it wouldn’t obstruct the audience’s view. We requested them to take it down after two songs and security deflated it. There was no instruction for heavy-handedness or restriction.”

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