West End retailers decide to battle it out on May Day

Retailers in London say they will be opening for business as usual on May 1 despite predicted widespread unrest in the capital when next week’s “May Day protests” take place.

The national press has made much of the planned anti-capitalist demonstration, with retailers such as the Body Shop, Gap, McDonald’s and Starbucks mentioned as possible targets for militant protestors.

Protest stickers have already appeared in tube stations in the form of Monopoly squares, with protestors asking sympathisers to pick their favourite landmark for a demonstration.

Last year, a group of protestors turned on one of McDonald’s restaurants in Whitehall, smashing windows and furniture.

Police are meeting with retailers in the area over the next week to advise on procedures and safety but say they will not be telling people to stay away.

Regent Street Retailers’ Association spokeswoman Annie Walker says: “On April 26 we are having a security meeting, where members will be briefed by Scotland Yard.

“Retailers are planning business as usual but with contingency plans in place.”

A McDonald’s spokeswoman says: “The security of our staff and customers are of the utmost importance to the company.

“Restaurants will be open and we will be operating under the guidance of police,” she adds.

The Body Shop also says it will keep doors open but will monitor the situation.

London Underground says it intends to staff stations in the normal way and “play it by ear”, closing them if necessary.

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