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

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.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)

25 months ago

I find these protesters to be a bunch of moral high grounders. They don't know what's actually happening behind the scenes.

Not relevant, fact is you have freedom of speech in Europe, glad the judge denied Apple's request.
Rating: 157 Votes
25 months ago
Tim is very liberal when it comes to social freedoms but extremely right wing when it comes to protecting his money. Its nice to have it both ways, huh Tim?
Rating: 123 Votes
25 months ago

So, if I understand correctly you find painting on a window "vandalising", guess what, you can wash that off in no time.

I'm pretty sure you would call it vandalizing if it was done on your windows, no matter how easy it is to wash it off.
Rating: 92 Votes
25 months ago
Hey, if Tim is going to continually play the moral protest game himself, then what's good for the goose...
Rating: 82 Votes
25 months ago
So in France its ok to vandalize private property as long as you claim that it is in peaceful protest. Got it.
Rating: 70 Votes
25 months ago

Activists are a cult that are a bunch of sheeps that just protest for the sake of it, morons

What a well-thought out, nuanced, intelligent statement.
Rating: 55 Votes
25 months ago
I’m conflicted on this. I believe in free speech, but if these protesters are disrupting service and affecting sales, I feel like Apple has the right to tell them to leave.
Rating: 44 Votes
25 months ago

Paint which can easily be removed by washing the windows is not "vandalising".

Erm, no.

It is vandalism. Let me go paint all over your car windows and your house windows and see how you like it. Even if it can be washed off easily it is still vandalism. You shouldn't touch or deface anything that does not belong to you. If you paint on my windows you will be sued I can assure you that I will win as well. :)
Rating: 40 Votes
25 months ago
I'm all for free speech but painting stuff on someone's windows isn't ok. Do your speeches and chants, have signs but painting those signs on property you don't own.. ah that's craziness.

Wonder how many of those people have Apple products on them or at home? lol
Rating: 37 Votes
25 months ago
Interesting. I know they’d lose in the US for writing on the windows. That’s considered vandalism. Easy to wash off? Sure, but it’s still vandalism
Rating: 36 Votes

[ Read All Comments ]