He had planned to work the salt flats on the beach, encrusted with crystallized sea salt at every high tide, but the police had forestalled him by crushing the salt deposits into the mud. Nevertheless, Gandhi reached down and picked up a small lump of natural salt out of the mud–and British law had been defied. At Dandi, thousands more followed his lead, and in the coastal cities of Bombay and Karachi, Indian nationalists led crowds of citizens in making salt. Civil disobedience broke out all across India, soon involving millions of Indians, and British authorities arrested more than 60,000 people. Gandhi himself was arrested on May 5, but the satyagraha continued without him.
In the case of the poll tax, a nationwide network of campaigns and non-payment unions had developed. These groups brought people who were ordinarily isolated, or not politically active, together. Their strategy was to resist at every step: refusing to register for the tax, contesting liability orders from the council (thus clogging up the legal system) and finally refusing payment. This was highly effective. Tax collection was ineffective, and the situation was polarised at great expense to the ruling Conservatives, who were forced to depose their leader and retreat from the full legislation.