French Tax Reform Activists Win Legal Permission to Continue Protesting at Apple Stores

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Attac, a French tax reform activist group, has won a court challenge from Apple that allows them to continue protesting at Apple Stores. The group posted the court ruling to its page (via 9to5Mac > MacGeneration), a ruling that affirmed the right of Attac to protest and awarded it court costs of €2,000.

Apple in France

Attac v. Apple

Attac accuses Apple of dodging local taxes, an offshoot of controversy over Apple’s international corporate structure. The group says it wants, “Apple, the largest multinational company in the world, pay its fair share of taxes in the countries where it actually operates and accepts the € 13 billion tax recovery claimed by the European Commission by withdrawing its action before the Court of Justice of the European Union.

To make its case, Attac has been staging protests at Apple’s high profile flagship stores in France, including its Paris flagship. Apple sued in French courts to stop the protests, and lost.

Whether or not you agree with Attac’s sentiment, the French court found:

The mere penetration of militants into the Apple Store Opera, or other stores located in France, without violence, without degradation, and without blocking the access of the store to the clientele, is not sufficient to characterize an imminent harm justifying limiting the right to freedom of expression and freedom of expression of the activists of the Attac association, who acted in accordance with the statutes of the association, and within the framework of a general interest campaign on the payment of taxes and tax evasion.

Attac has promised ongoing disruptions to press its demands. Apple has not yet publicly responded.

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wab95
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wab95

Agree with John K here. The presence of this group is intimidating, certainly for the casual customer. Multiple sociology studies have shown that most people will avoid even desirable activities in order to avoid conflict or confrontation. For most, there has to be an imperative that drives them to confront it. I don’t know if Apple’s legal representation (presumably they did) provided any visitation data, showing the numbers of store visits before and after, or even similar periods last year vs this, to demonstrate impact, not so much on Apple’s business, but on the perception of free, unobstructed access to… Read more »

John Kheit
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John Kheit

The “mere” vandalism seemed to be ignored by the court. Their right to protest peacefully, otherwise, outside, assuming they do not harass and/or impede others is totally cool. But you know they are not, and the graffiti pretty much makes that clear.

They should be slammed for their vandalism.

The court and country are a joke in that they cannot maintain basic civility or discern its absence.