May Day: Mid-tier firm under siege

Grant Thornton’s offices at Euston.

May Day protesters, many on bicycles, ended up trapped outside the Euston office block after police hemmed in a procession that started at Kings Cross station and began extracting individuals for body searches.

Police also contended with a horde of reporters and photographers who gathered at the building to watch the protestors, who were banging drums and chanting ‘let us out’.

A spokesman said staff were being sent home.

Other businesses across the capital were also hit by the protests, including PricewaterhouseCoopers which successfully stopped a group of protesters from entering its Embankment offices.

Many employers warned staff to stay away from their offices unless necessary, and more sent staff home as the day progressed.

Others told staff to dress down. One mid-tier firm advised: ‘Suits, Rolex watches, laptops and jewellery are to be avoided.’

KPMG’s Salisbury Square headquarters had security guards posted outside, while Ernst & Young’s Rolls House building was secured by a wrought iron gate.The two firms, together with PwC, had formed part of a list of 200 organisations targeted on the protestor’s monopoly-themed site.

In contrast to last year, when the protests centered on the City, trouble this year centred on the West End shopping district where a tense stand-off developed between police and around 2,000 demonstrators.

Many shops and businesses in the area had closed for the day and a large number had boarded up their shop fronts entirely.

Millions of pounds in revenues were put at risk, although business groups played down losses. Westminster Council said they would total just £100,000.


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