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Anti Mcdonalds Day Pickets- London's West End

tim | 17.10.2001 13:30

Anti Mcdonalds Day pickets in London's West End.
Veggie Burger give away and Samba.

Anti Mcdonalds Day pickets in London's West End.
Veggie Burger give away and Samba.

Arriving a little after 3 the store was already being leafleted and a
few placards were being displayed around the entrance to the store, we
opened out the 2 banners we brought along

25 years of McJunk

Mcdonalds - Guilty of - Exploiting Workers - Destroying the Environment
- Murdering Animals - Fight Back.

and started handing out the free veggie
burgers and some more placards, leaflets. The leaflet was produced by
the Mclibel Support Campaign - 'What's wrong with Mcdonalds'.
The Rhythms of Resistance Samba band started to do there thing and a
crowd started to form around it all. Another supporter arrived and
handed out free organic Halva balls to passers by and protesters. There
was about 30 protesters at this store and the picket lasted till 4pm,
the Police stood by and only stepped in once to my knowledge to ask for
the veggie burger queue to be kept out of the way of the passers by.

Off to the Leicester Square for the next picket. A solitary copper tells
the Samba Band that they can't play any music till 5 pm (it was 4.30),
some special by law that applies to Leicester Square, so he leaves and 5
minutes later the band start up. A large crowd (100+) gathers very
quickly, loads of leafleting and the Samba crew get to perform without
any grief till 5.10pm were we end the picket and head to Whitehall.

The Police are already outside the Whitehall store when we arrive, but
we set up our banners and get to leafleting, a cop van pulls in front of
the banners so they can't be seen from the road, so we move down from
the store a little. This store was also chosen by the GMB Union and No
Sweat for there pickets from 5.30 - 6pm. The Samba start up and 2 clowns
arrive on a customised rickshaw with a big banner flying from the back
of the bike that reads 'McExploitation', a few shaving foam pies are
thrown about, and the store is totally empty of customers.
This is the largest picket of the 3 and has a broader collection of
different leaflets - the GMB's is about Mcdonalds
introducing age discrimination in wage rates, and No Sweat's are anti
Nike & Mcdonalds. There was also another banner but I didn't see what it
had on it. A few more burgers are handed out and then we leave at 6 to
join the Peace Vigil outside Downing St.

The Vigil was quite large with many different speakers using the open
Mike. The remaining burgers were taken around and offered to the crowd,
who were very appreciative.

About 8000 leaflets and 120 free veggie burgers were handed out during
the afternoon

All good fun and thanks to everyone.

text of leaflet


McDonald's spend well over $2 billion every year worldwide on advertising and
promotions, trying to cultivate an image of being a 'caring' and 'green'
company that is also a fun place to eat. Children are lured in (dragging
their parents behind them) with the promise of toys and other gimmicks. But
behind the smiling face of Ronald McDonald lies the reality - McDonald's
only interest is money, making profits from whoever and whatever they can,
just like all multinational companies. McDonald's Annual Reports talk of
'Global Domination' - they aim to open more and more stores across the globe
- but their continual worldwide expansion means more uniformity, less choice
and the undermining of local communities.

McDonald's promote their food as 'nutritious', but the reality is that it is
junk food - high in fat, sugar and salt, and low in fibre and vitamins. A
diet of this type is linked with a greater risk of heart disease, cancer,
diabetes and other diseases. Their food also contains many chemical
additives, some of which may cause ill-health, and hyperactivity in
children. Don't forget too that meat is the cause of the majority of food
poisoning incidents. In 1991 McDonald's were responsible for an outbreak of
food poisoning in the UK, in which people suffered serious kidney failure.
With modern intensive farming methods, other diseases - linked to chemical
residues or unnatural practices - have become a danger to people too (such
as BSE).

Workers in the fast food industry are paid low wages. McDonald's do not pay
overtime rates even when employees work very long hours. Pressure to keep
profits high and wage costs low results in understaffing, so staff have to
work harder and faster. As a consequence, accidents (particularly burns)
are common. The majority of employees are people who have few job options
and so are forced to accept this exploitation, and they're compelled to
'smile' too! Not surprisingly staff turnover at McDonald's is high, making
it virtually impossible to unionise and fight for a better deal, which suits
McDonald's who have always been opposed to Unions.

Vast areas of land in poor countries are used for cash crops or for cattle
ranching, or to grow grain to feed animals to be eaten in the West. This is
at the expense of local food needs. McDonald's continually promote meat
products, encouraging people to eat meat more often, which wastes more and
more food resources. 7 million tons of grain fed to livestock produces only
1 million tons of meat and by-products. On a plant-based diet and with land
shared fairly, almost every region could be self-sufficient in food.

Forests throughout the world - vital for all life - are being destroyed at
an appalling rate by multinational companies. McDonald's have at last been
forced to admit to using beef reared on ex-rainforest land, preventing its
regeneration. Also, the use of farmland by multinationals and their
suppliers forces local people to move on to other areas and cut down further
McDonald's are the world's largest user of beef. Methane emitted by cattle
reared for the beef industry is a major contributor to the 'global warming'
crisis. Modern intensive agriculture is based on the heavy use of chemicals
which are damaging to the environment.
Every year McDonald's use thousands of tons of unnecessary packaging, most
of which ends up littering our streets or polluting the land buried in
landfill sites.

The menus of the burger chains are based on the torture and murder of
millions of animals. Most are intensively farmed, with no access to fresh
air and sunshine, and no freedom of movement. Their deaths are barbaric -
'humane slaughter' is a myth. We have the choice to eat meat or not, but
the billions of animals massacred for food each year have no choice at all.

Criticism of McDonald's has come from a huge number of people and
organisations over a wide range of issues. In the mid-1980's, London
Greenpeace drew together many of those strands of criticism and called for
an annual World Day of Action against McDonald's. This takes place every
year on 16th October, with pickets and demonstrations all over the world.
McDonald's, who spend a fortune every year on advertising, tried and failed to
silence world-wide criticism by threatening legal action. Many were forced
to back down because they lacked the money to fight a case. But Helen Steel
and Dave Morris, two supporters of London Greenpeace, defended themselves in
a major UK High Court libel trial. Despite all the cards being stacked
against them, denied Legal Aid and a jury trial, Helen and Dave turned the
tables and exposed the truth by putting McDonald's business practices on
trial. Some damning judgments were made against McDonald's and protests
against the $40 billion a year fast-food giant continue to grow. It's vital
to stand up to intimidation and to defend free speech.

WHAT YOU CAN DO - Together we can fight back against the institutions and
the people in power who dominate our lives and our planet, and we can create
a better society without exploitation. Workers can and do organise together
to fight for their rights and dignity. People are increasingly aware of the
need to think seriously about the food we and our children eat. People in
poor countries are organising themselves to stand up to multinationals and
banks which dominate the world's economy. Environmental and animal rights
protests and campaigns are growing everywhere. Why not join in the struggle
for a better world. Talk to friends and family, neighbours and workmates
about these issues. Please copy and circulate this leaflet as widely as you

Further information:

- e-mail:
- Homepage:


Display the following 5 comments

  1. pic from whitehall mcds — wonko the sane
  2. Low Pay Clowns have a flan-tastic time at McD — jd
  3. i almost forgot — wonko the sane
  4. Pic Funny - Up to 8 Million starving Afgans — Creative Anarchy Ireland
  5. stinkbombs! — stinkbomber