On Saturday, activists entered and occupied several Apple stores in France in an effort to pressure the company to pay its $15.5 billion tax bill to the European Union.
In a press release, the Association for the Taxation of Financial Transactions and Citizen’s Action organization (Attac) revealed that about a hundred people stormed the Opera Apple Store in Paris to increase pressure on the company to pay its taxes.
Dozens of other protests took place at Apple stores around France on Saturday as well. In the Paris store, activists chanted “Pay your taxes!” and were videotaped pushing past security and holding up a banner stating, “We will stop when Apple pays.”
Apple employees were were asked by security personnel to leave the building prior to the protest.
According to Attac, Apple’s “tax optimization methods have allowed it to accumulate more than $230 billion in tax havens,” claiming that the company sends a portion of profits to its Irish subsidiaries in order to avoid paying taxes.
“Apple must stop denying the tax practices highlighted by the European Commission’s investigation, withdraw its appeal to the European Court of Justice and pay its fine of 13 billion euros as quickly as possible,” Aurélie Trouvé, spokesman for Attac, said, as reported by MarketWatch.
“We’ve got an appointment, within a fortnight, with Apple’s national management. We demand that Apple publishes its report country by country now and retroactively [for] the last years,” Trouvé added.
The European Commission has been looking into the tax arrangements of multinationals operating in Europe, and has reported Ireland to the European Court of Justice for failing to collect from Apple some $15 billion in unpaid taxes.
The Paris occupation continued for about three hours, according to reports.
Activists were careful to leave protest messages on the screens of every Apple device in the store.
Attac announced that the Apple protest is a part of the #PhoneRevolt movement, which seeks to shed light on unfair practices by the tech behemoth, including worker exploitation and pollution caused by the extraction of metals that are used to manufacture phones and other devices.