Leafletters Face Harassment On Leeds Wilko's Picket
Why the officious manager of Wiko's Leeds branch has not received a warning for wasting police time would be a mystery to anyone unaware of the police's established role in protecting Capitalism. Every single time there has been a picket of Leeds city centre branch of the prison slave labour chain their manager has called the police to have us moved on, and each time the police have told him that, as yet, they have no powers to do so. Today, Sunday 19th December, shortly after the commencement of leafleting outside the store, he instead complained to a 'street warden'. The idiot in question (strret warden 07), despite not having a leg to stand on legally, tried to get our leafleters to move on, quickly getting flustered when they refused. Frustrated by this, and huffing and puffing like a diminutive bad wolf, 'Napoleon' summoned his colleague 'Oddjob' (street warden 09) to the scene. Both of these lickspittle's then tried to intimidate CAPS protestors into going away, with various threats, and veiled references to Leeds Council bylaws.
Eventually two slightly less officious colleagues were called as further back-up. On a pre-Xmas Sunday, with Millwall playing in Leeds, you'd think the 4 of them might have had something better to do with themselves than act as 'hired guns' for Wilko's, and the frustration of the 2 new arrivals with their dim-witted colleagues could hardly have been more apparent. The bylaw being quoted is one aimed at "Touting" - "No person shall in any street or public space for the purpose of selling or advertising any article or obtaining custom tout or importune to the annoyance or obstruction of passengers." Whoever this bylaw is aimed at it certainly did not apply here, not only were our leaflets not causing any annoyance to anyone except the management of Wilkinson's, but they were not touting for business. Refusing to budge our protestors then awaited the arrival of the police (incredibly, at this point, Oddjob tried to get them to leave, saying they were "making a mountain out of a mole-hill"!)
When the police arrived in the shape of a young constable, you almost had to feel sorry for him having to deal with the now almost-hysterical Napoleon and his even thicker colleague Oddjob, who were reduced to telling him all sorts of rubbish. But it was clear that, as yet, the Law still allows people to peacefully give out leaflets, whether Wilkinson's management likes them or not. But flustered by their own incompetence, and the fact they had been unable to intimidate our protestors Napoleon and Oddjob weren't having it. This lead, bizarrely, to an impromptu conference, involving the young copper, Oddjob, Napoleon, their two colleagues, two newly-arrived police support officers, a plain-clothes cop or store detective, a street-cleaner, and the Wilko's manager!
After a considerable period of time, our protestors were again informed by the police that they had every right to leaflet outside Wilko's. The matter looked resolved, much to the annoyance of Napoleon, but then he threatened to issue a 'ticket' "on suspicion of causing litter" ie littering 'by proxy'! This was despite the fact that there was no evidence of any of the CAPS leaflets being distributed having been dropped on the ground! Arbitrarily he demanded the details of one of our protestors, who refused to give them. Napoleon was huffing and puffing for all he was worth now, and managing to make himself look more and more ridiculous by the minute. Eventually he slunk off, no doubt to take his frustration out on some teenage skate-boarders or some homeless people. However, the fact is that leafleting of Wilko's was disrupted for an hour by this officious little idiot. Leeds CAPS will be consulting solicitors about the incident, and vow to continue their protests against Wilko's slave labour store, irrespective of jumped-up 'little Hitler's and jobsworth's like Napoleon and Oddjob.
You can show your support by attending the next Leeds CAPS picket.