Apple Denied Request to Ban Tax Protestors From Its Stores in France

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Apr 12, 2001
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The High Court of Paris on Friday denied Apple's request for an injunction that would have blocked activist group Attac from protesting at the company's retail stores across France, as it has been doing for the past several months.

Attac activists protesting at an Apple Store in France via Libération

The order states that the mere presence of protesters at Apple's stores in France, without violence, vandalism, or customers being blocked from entering the premises, is not enough to justify limiting the group's rights to freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful assembly protected by human rights laws in Europe.

The court added that Attac acted in accordance with the European Union's Statutes of the Association, and defined the protests as a matter of public interest. Apple has been ordered to pay 2,000 euros to cover Attac's legal fees, according to the order, which was earlier reported by French website MacGeneration.

Attac is a voluntary association that has been accusing Apple of corporate tax evasion in Europe, in line with the European Commission ordering Ireland to recover around 13 billion euros in back taxes from the iPhone maker in 2016. Apple and Ireland have denied the accusations and are appealing the decision.

Apple previously said it has "a long tradition of supporting individuals and groups that peacefully express their opinions," but it accused Attac's activists of "vandalizing shops and endangering the security of staff and customers," which it finds unacceptable, according to court documents obtained by The Guardian.

During a stunt at an Apple store in Aix-en-Provence last November, for example, activists painted "pay your taxes" on the glass windows. Attac also gathered in front of the High Court of Paris last week with Stormtrooper costumes and Star Wars-themed signs that equated Apple to the evil Galactic Empire.

Apple CEO Tim Cook equated to Darth Sidious via Sol Trumbo Vila?

Attac has a different view. In a blog post published today, the association said it is "defending the public interest" with "non-violent citizen actions," and it has previously called its actions "festive and good-natured."

Apple has yet to comment on today's decision, and it's unclear if it will exercise other legal options in its fight against Attac.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Article Link: Apple Denied Request to Ban Tax Protestors From Its Stores in France
 

QCassidy352

macrumors G4
Mar 20, 2003
11,018
3,645
Bay Area
Not relevant, fact is you have freedom of speech in Europe, glad the judge denied Apple's request.
It’s mind boggling to me that “freedom of speech” could be construed to allow a bunch of jackasses to disrupt business in a privately owned establishment. In the US, these morons would be facing trespassing and vandalism charges, and rightfully so.

Edit: after rereading, it’s unclear to me whether they were in the stores or on the public sidewalk, which makes ALL the difference. If they were outside, then they’re fine. If inside, arrest ‘em. The vandalism is a crime either way.
 

wigby

macrumors 68000
Jun 7, 2007
1,926
1,476
Wouldn't they just need to prove that their not "peaceful protests". Just need to get pictures or video of the vandalism
It's also pretty easy to get protesters to act violently when you physically remove them from a space.
It’s mind boggling to me that “freedom of speech” could be construed to allow a bunch of jackasses to disrupt business in a privately owned establishment. In the US, these morons would be facing trespassing and vandalism charges, and rightfully so.
The problem Apple faces is that they also allow and encourage other forms of non-violent protest in their own stores (at least in the U.S. they have). So Apple wants to pick and choose their causes but that opens them up others to get into the door.
 

QCassidy352

macrumors G4
Mar 20, 2003
11,018
3,645
Bay Area
The problem Apple faces is that they also allow and encourage other forms of non-violent protest in their own stores (at least in the U.S. they have). So Apple wants to pick and choose their causes but that opens them up others to get into the door.
No, actually, it doesn’t, at least under US law. In the US, a business (and any private entity) absolutely can engage in viewpoint discrimination. Perhaps France has some kind of “equal time” for private entities - I don’t know.
 

Gorms

macrumors 6502a
Aug 30, 2012
535
1,444
UK
Mentioned this last time there was an article on it. You don't step on the French's right to protest. Mostly because it just won't work. You can take them to court and the judge will take one look at you, one look at the protesters, tear off his wig, tie you up, and start waving a placard too.

It's a beautiful thing.
 
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