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Fur protestors hit Harrods Summer Sale

Jul '07
Around 30 protesters held a vibrant and effective demo at the the opening of Harrods Summer Sale, a great turnout for a demo at 8 o'clock in the morning. The sale was due to be officially opened by the American actress Sarah Michelle Gellar, of
"Buffy the Vampire Slayer" fame.

As we gathered by door number 5 to await the opening ceremony, a four piece string quartet played on a large stage which had been erected especially for the occasion. Between the music we used a megaphone to inform the waiting shoppers and media about Harrods' involvement with the fur trade, while others handed out leaflets.

With 15 minutes to go we had quite a large and colourful protest in place right by the stage. Harrods then cynically tried to hide the protests by placing a large group of their employees, mostly large men, in front of the protesters. This tactic failed when we in turn stood in front of them, so instead they were placed in the crowd to try to make it look there were more shoppers.

At 9am, actress Sarah Michelle Gellar arrived in a horse drawn carriage, and preceded by a Scottish bagpipe band, where she was greeted by Harrods owner Mohammed Al Fayed. A loud chant of "Fur Trade Death Trade" and "Shame on Harrods" echoed around the specially built stage, and almost drowned out the pipe band. Together with the many placards, the fur protest easily dominated the proceedings, though you would never know from the media reports.

A large crowd of around 35 photographers and film crews were in attendance, and took many photos and film footage of the demo. The subsequent news reports about the opening of the sale played down the protest, some completely ignored it.

Because it was impossible to film Gellar's arrival without the protest, nearly all the news items were accompanied instead by photos of Gellar and Al Fayed inside the store, gallingly posing with Al Fayed's two small dogs. In the only images of the actual arrival and ceremony which were shown, on the BBC and in the Daily Mail, the large banners were deliberately blurred out.

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