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Protesters hold strong with cement and glue to stop a supermarket chain

A fierce campaign against British supermarket chain Tesco is being waged in Bristol, where residents fear the opening of a new store will threaten not only the local businesses, but the independent spirit of their neighborhood. Six weeks ago, a group of about 10 people began squatting on the vacant site of the future store. Riot police were called in this week to remove them. But it wasn’t easy, as The Daily Mail noted:

Two protesters had encased their arms in concrete and had to be cut out with sledgehammers and a pickaxe. Another had superglued himself to the building, and a third was cheered by crowds as he tried to climb on to a cherry picker used by security guards to access the roof… Police made four arrests for breaches of the peace and had to close roads as 300 furious locals gathered in front of the site chanting: ‘Whose streets? Our streets.’

Protest organiser Claire Milne, 33, who lives in Stokes Croft, said she had received 2,000 postcards pledging support for the anti-Tesco campaign.

She added: ‘People from all walks of life have been protesting through lots of different channels. We’ve been writing letters and working with the council but they say there’s nothing they can do.

So often protest groups take extreme action before trying to solve their issues through traditional means. Escalating tactics is a great way to gain some leverage, as well as respect. The public is more likely to respond to an activist cause and accept extreme action if they see the government has ignored the protesters’ repeated attempts to solve an issue through traditional means. Based on this BBC video it seems like these Tesco protesters have the public sympathy. Although the video mentions previous failed attempts to stop Tesco, perhaps the Battle of Stokes Croft will be a turning point.