Retail park protest clash causes anger

News story
News story

FURIOUS campaigners have blasted security staff who they claim harassed and intimidated a peaceful protest against a clothing retailer.

Several protestors from leading online campaign group 38 Degrees stood outside the Matalan store at Robin Park on Saturday to hand out leaflets and ask shoppers to sign a petition.

The event was part of a campaign to get the retail giant to disclose how much it is paying into the compensation fund for survivors of the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh.

However, the protest became heated at about 11.30am when a security officer said the retail park was private land and they could be thrown off the site if they continued to hand out leaflets or speak to people.

Norman Greenhalgh, one of the protestors, said he was disgusted at the heavy-handed tactics used against himself and his three fellow campaigners.

Mr Greenhalgh, 64, said: “These were three defenceless women who looked really taken aback by what the security guard said. I was trying to stand up for them, although I admit I said some derogatory things myself.

“To me the way he treated them is bullying. They are good, well meaning people following their consciences and I was incensed with the lack of compassion being shown.”

Mr Greenhalgh claims both the security guard and a passing shopper, who walked across to him and simulated a head butt, also made offensive comments about Bangladeshi people and the fact they were raising awareness of the issue of sweatshop labour.

Last week a group from 38 Degrees visited Matalan’s premises in Skelmersdale to hand over a petition and speak to the firm’s marketing director about the company making payments to the Rana Plaza survivors’ trust fund, which is supported by the United Nations.