Shibuya, Tokyo, 7 March 1997.
On Friday evening, 7 March 1997, the McLibel campaign in Japan moved
into high gear... Half a dozen members and supporters
of the International Action Committee for Justice for Helen and Dave,
including a couple of clowns, gathered in downtown Shibuya,
a popular shopping and entertainment district in Tokyo
and home to at least six McDonald's outlets.
Customers and passers-by eagerly accepted promotional leaflets.
By the time that over 300 flyers had been distributed, McDonald's
management got the shakes and called in the local constabulary who
intercepted the publicity agents outside store number four. They invited
the two clowns to accompany them to a nearby police box for
questioning, but failed to apprehend the final helium-filled balloon,
which is still believed to be at large in the community.
Committee members and supporters, backed by a growing crowd of
bewildered onlookers, converged on the police box where the clowns
were being grilled by four policemen, and demanded their immediate
release. In response to the commotion, several policemen moved
outside in an attempt to intimidate the supporters, verbally abusing one
woman and manhandling several other supporters. Although the clowns
were released soon after, the struggling outside the police box
continued for several minutes. This and other "highlights" of the
evening's action were recorded on video by an American committee
Overall the action was a great success, attracting much interest and
sympathy from passers-by, several who engaged McDonald's staff in
one-to-one conversation. It is hoped this will lead to increased
awareness in Japan of the issues involved. The committee is planning
further protests to coincide with worldwide action following the
court's decision in the McLibel trial.