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Apple Heads to Court in France to Ban ‘Good Natured’ Tax Campaigners

Attac France Apple Credit: Franck Pennant / AFP
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Apple has opened a court case in France in a bid to ban tax campaigners from accessing its retail stores to stage stunts, according to the Guardian.

On Monday, lawmakers in France will deliver their verdict on the somewhat unique case launched by Apple. The firm wants to stop activist organisation Attac from entering its property.

Founded in 1998, Attac describes itself as an organisation that’s pushing for social, environmental and democratic alternative in economies across the world.

With more than 90,000 members, the organisation is certainly able to make an impact. And in recent times, it’s launched attacks on companies such as Apple for allegedly failing to pay their fair share of tax.

To pressure the company on its tax affairs, Attac members regularly conduct what they say are “good-natured” stunts in Apple stores. But clearly, Apple doesn’t agree.

In December 2017, around 100 of the organisation’s volunteers conducted a large-scale stunt at one of Apple’s Paris stores, which is located at Place de l’Opéra.

As the Guardian reports, the campaigners put on a show-stopping performance for Apple employees and customers. They danced and waved around a banner that said: “We’ll stop when Apple pays”.

Others held cardboard posters that reiterated the European Commission’s decision to order the company to pay back billions to Ireland in unpaid taxes.

Meanwhile, in 2017, masked activists whitewashed the windows of an Apple store in Aix-en-Provence. They deny any wrongdoing, though.

While Attac claims it doesn’t intend to cause harm by conducting these stunts, Apple certainly isn’t impressed and has accused the organisation of vandalism among other claims.

In court papers, Apple said it supports “individuals and groups that peacefully express their opinions”. But it claims that Attac activists are not only vandalising its shops but also “endangering the security of staff and customers”.

Attac has denied these allegations. In a statement, a spokesperson for the organisation said: “We simply went into Apple shops in a festive and good-natured way with music and theatre.”

Apple believes that the group’s activism activities have disrupted its sales and, as a result, is calling on the court to issue the activists with a ban. And if they break this, they could be fined up to €150,000.

Speaking to France Info, Attac laywer Julien Pignon said Apple’s demands are “totally out of proportion with regard to the superior principle of freedom of expression and freedom to demonstrate”.

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