Manchester

Four held after protesters close Manchester Arndale Topshop

Manchester Arndale Centre
Image caption The centre has since fully reopened to the public

Four people have been arrested after a protest over alleged tax avoidance by big businesses closed a store at Manchester's Arndale shopping centre.

About 30 campaigners stormed the centre at about 1530 GMT, forcing the Topshop store to roll down its shutters.

Police said the protest became unreasonable and shoppers and workers were being intimidated.

The store reopened shortly after the protesters were ejected.

Of those people arrested, one was held on suspicion of criminal damage, two on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly and the other on preventing a further breach of the peace.

Peace restored

The incident comes a week after protesters from the group UK Uncut forced Topshop's store in Oxford Street, London, to temporarily close.

Topshop boss Sir Philip Green's wife, the firm's direct owner, has been criticised for living in a tax haven.

Tom Mason, 25, from Manchester, was at the scene and saw the group run into the building and upstairs towards Topshop.

"I saw a crowd surrounding a Topshop store," he said.

"It looked like they were hanging on to the shutters and some were trying to get in.

"Police arrived after about a minute and peace was restored relatively easily."

'Broke agreement'

Michael Leversha, who took part in the protest, said the group also targeted the Vodafone store.

He said: "We went to Vodafone first and then to Topshop and they were immediately shut down.

"Then we planned to go to another Vodafone store outside the shopping centre but were diverted.

"We just wanted to protest outside the shop and were chanting against Philip Green."

A Greater Manchester Police spokesman said the protest organisers had previously agreed to go to Cathedral Gardens but not enter the Arndale Centre.

The Arndale Centre has since fully re-opened.

Topshop was unavailable for comment.

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