After UK supermarket chain Tesco announced that they would be putting “anti-homeless” spikes outside their London store to stop homeless people from sleeping nearby, activists decided to pour concrete over them in protest. Now, the store has decided to get rid of them altogether.
Since the London Tesco first installed the anti-homeless spikes, people have been staging protests and launching campaigns against the store, calling their methods of getting rid of homeless people inhumane. Activists were not the only ones protesting Tesco’s decision; London Mayor Boris Johnson called the spikes “ugly, self defeating, and stupid.”
Simon Childs, a journalist for Vice Magazine, described the scene when protesters began to pour the concrete over the spikes.
“They were all carrying buckets, which I soon found out were full of concrete,” wrote Childs. “Tipping the containers all over the spikes, the stuff inside landed with a messy thud on the ledge. The activists then tried to spread the concrete out with some wooden slats, but it looked a little thick and wasn't really budging. When they dashed down a side street, I caught up and asked one what exactly they were doing. They explained that they were trying to drown the spikes in concrete, rendering the ledge non-spikey. ‘These [spikes] are in places where people are trying to find a cosy, less wet place to put their head down,’ one said. ‘These are places that the underclass rely on. We give [Tesco] our money and this is how they treat us.’”
Following the protests, a Tesco spokesperson announced that the store ultimately decided to remove them and figure out a different way to solve the homeless problem.
“Customers told us they were intimidated by antisocial behavior outside our Regent Street store and we put studs in place to try to stop it,” said a spokesperson to The Guardian. “These studs have caused concern for some, who have interpreted them as an anti-homeless measure, so we have decided to remove them to address this concern. We will find a different solution and hope this clears up any confusion.”