As U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron hosted an anti-corruption summit in London, protesters transformed Trafalgar Square into a "tropical tax haven" to send a message about the super rich hiding money overseas to avoid paying taxes.
Activists donned banker suits and hats, and covered the area with fake sand, palm trees, and beach chairs.
Nonprofit organizations Oxfam, Action Aid, and Christian Aid collaborated to create the elaborate protest.
"We are here to remind the world leaders attending the summit that we have to tackle tax dodging — a form of corruption that hurts the world's poorest the most," Oxfam spokesperson Melanie Kramers told Sputnik News.
The summit is expected to result in a new public register where foreign firms that own property in the U.K. must declare their assets.
"Britain has control over [a] number of territories that are tax havens, whose role in global economy is to facilitate corruption — tax avoidance and corruption," Brian Johnston, head of advocacy at ActionAid UK, told Mashable. "People who are hurt most by that are people who live in developing countries around the world, with huge inequality."
It has been estimated that $7.5 trillion is stashed away in offshore tax havens, with 80 percent of the money never taxed. Low-income people are directly impacted by tax havens because they miss out on potential tax revenue that could be spent on education, roads, health care, and law enforcement.
The recent leak of the Panama Papers revealed that numerous world leaders and celebrities hid their money by funneling it through offshore bank accounts, thereby avoiding taxes.
The tropical tax haven in Trafalgar Square was intended to raise awareness about this issue in a tongue-in-cheek way.