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Islington boozer and curry house spawn global protest group

PUBLISHED: 14:23 31 May 2011

The Nags Head pub in Islington High Street

The Nags Head pub in Islington High Street

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An Islington pub and an all-you-can-eat curry house were the unlikely birth places of a global protest group responsible for shutting the biggest clothes shop in the world.

The Nags Head, in Islington High Street, and Indian Veg, in nearby Chapel Market, provided the backdrop when sit-in demonstrators UK Uncut cooked up their plan to fight alleged corporate tax evasion.

With a mission to show that if large companies paid all their taxes, government cuts would be unnecessary, UK Uncut have received world wide media coverage and have sister organisations all over Europe and North America.

Snowballed

But Daniel Garvin, 26, one of the founding members of the group, says they discussed far more modest ambitions over their pints and tandooris.

He said: “We had all been to protests before and thought they were so boring – just a tired march from A to B – so we just wanted to inject some life into it.

“Half of us lived in Islington and the other half in Hackney so we often met at the Nags Head. The Indian Veg was a bit of an old haunt as well.

“The day after George Osborne announced £7 billion in cuts, we were in the pub discussing Vodaphone’s alleged £6 billion tax avoidance and thought they would make a good target.

“It was almost by accident that we did a sit-in protest at their Oxford Street store.

“Uk Uncut was just a hash tag for Twitter at this point, but we seemed to have captured the national zeitgeist so the name kind of stuck, and when we closed Topshop in Oxford Circus, media coverage really snowballed.”

There are now Uncut groups in the US, Canada, France, Portugal and Spain – but Mr Garvin insists the group will never forget its Islington roots.

“Islington is a great place to be, because we know our message will go down well,” he said.

“People like iHoops, Save the Whittington and Jeremy Corbyn have been really supportive.

“It is definitely the right territory for us.”


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