It's a fiddle! Funnyman's Irish tax flashmob floods Apple flagship store
Dozens of protesters have some craic in London
Updated Comedian and activist Mark Thomas threw a riotous Irish-themed party inside Apple's flagship store in London to protest against the iPhone giant's tiny tax bills.
The left-wing agitator led a group of about 50 protesters into the swish Regent Street shop, where they waved signs reading "you are now entering Irish territory" and filled the air with music from the Emerald Isle - a reference to Apple's cunning move to funnel global profits through its Cork office in Ireland, where corporation tax rates are low and the US taxman cannot reach.
Dressed in traditional Irish clothing, the flashmob sung an impassioned version of traditional folk song The Irish Rover accompanied by a man on a fiddle. While the song was in full swing, Thomas can be seen insisting to bewildered blue-shirted store workers that "it's only a bit of fun".
His motley crew also opened web pages on the Apple store's reassuringly expensive computers that alleged: "Apple iDodge tax. You can buy the same products at the same prices at John Lewis around the corner and their MD slams tax avoidance."
Speaking after the protest, Thomas told his fellow activists out on the street: "It's great you made a little impact. We're not prepared to let companies pay no tax. It's austerity and multinationals who turn over billions of pounds in profit have got to make sure they pay their bit. If they are tax dodgers, we will make a scream, we will make a scene and shout as much as we can until we can get these people to pay tax and put into the system rather than take out."
Footage of the rally, held on Monday, was uploaded to YouTube yesterday by a fan.
The funnyman will talk more about the protest during his new live show called 100 Acts Of Minor Dissent which he will take on tour around Britain this and next month, and then stage at the Edinburgh Festival.
"This is part of the preparations for his live show. It was not filmed by us, someone just took footage and put it on YouTube," said the comedian's agent, Mike McCarthy. "He will just be talking about it during the show, rather than showing a film.
"We tend to find out about these stunts after they have happened."
About two thirds of Apple's global pretax income was registered in Ireland, it was claimed during a recent US Senate committee probe into the Cupertino goliath's tax affairs. The hearing also heard that, between 2009 and 2012, Apple declared profits of $38bn in the US, while its Irish subsidiaries pocketed $74bn. Apple's companies in Ireland are nesting on top of a cash reserve estimated to be in the region of $100bn. The iPhone-maker has said it paid $6bn in US taxes in 2012. ®
Updated to add
The YouTube video of the rally has since been removed from the website. Another vid has popped up here.