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Tax Protest At U2 Glastonbury Set
The Quietus , June 25th, 2011 07:41

Scuffles with security, who foil balloon launch

Protesters trying to sail a large balloon protesting at U2's tax avoidance tactics scuffled with security during the band's performance at the Glastonbury Festival last night. Activists from the pressure group Art Uncut were attempting to launch a balloon emblazoned with the slogan 'U Pay Your Tax 2' but were accosted by security guards. According to The Daily Mail one photographer was threatened by a security official, who said "go away. If you are press, I'll have you."

Festivalgoer Gary Noble said "It was all a bit shocking. I love U2 but I think everyone should pay their taxes. The campaigners have a right to voice their opinion." You can see pictures of the balloon here and watch footage at the BBC here. Speaking to the Guardian recently, Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis said that he could see the Festival becoming more radical. "I think it [the festival] could well become more political," he told the newspaper, "We've always been a sounding board for lots of unrest… If people are really faced with dire circumstances, that will get them angry and motivated, and that's the way we're heading at the moment."

U2 were targeted by Art Uncut for their decision to move their vast piles of Euros to the Netherlands from Ireland for tax purposes. "U2's multi million-euro tax dodge is depriving the Irish people at a time when they desperately need income to offset the Irish government's savage austerity programme," said protester Charlie Dewar. "Tax nestling in the band's bank account should be helping to keep open the hospitals, schools and libraries that are closing all over Ireland. Bono is well-known for his anti-poverty campaigning but Art Uncut is accusing him of hypocrisy." You can read a full blog post about why Art Uncut are protesting at U2's tax habits here, and Londoners might like to go to today's Bono Pay Up event at the Bull & Gate in Kentish Town, which features music and talks from organisations including Christian Aid.

U2 played an epic set that included a cover of Coldplay's 'Yellow', using footage of recent protests in the Middle East to accompany 'Sunday Bloody Sunday', Bono singing 'Jerusalem' acapella, and a call from the International Space Station.

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