Holding signs and carrying handouts about rainforest destruction and health risks, members of the McLibel Support Campaign rallied to defend London Greenpeace, a group of protesters from England that has been sued for libel by McDonald's Corp.
The messages of the protestors and the corporate executives offered a stark contrast.
Inside the shareholders meeting, Quinlan reminded shareholders of the company's commitment to the Olympic games, when in 1968, "We airlifted hamburgers to homesick [American Olympic] athletes in Grenoble, France."
Outside, Mike Durschmid, a local organizer for the McLibel Campaign, told a different story. "What we're about is the health issue and the environmental issue. I'm standing [here] because McDonald's is selling unhealthy food to kids," he said.
The 'McLibel' suit dates back to 1989, when London Greenpeace protested McDonald's purchase of beef that allegedly had grazed on land that had once been rainforest.
London Greenpeace - which is not affiliated with the well-known Greenpeace International - also objected to the company's labor policies.
When asked for comment on the issue, Walt Riker, a shareholder and director of public affairs communications for McDonald's, said McDonald's UK headquarters is handling the case. "It's an English issue," he said.
The defendants, Helen Steel and Dave Morris, both of London, England, have refused to recant their allegations.
"It has turned into the longest libel trial in UK history," according to Durschmid, who recently purchased McDonald's stock for the purpose of entering the shareholders meeting Thursday.
Durschmid's complaints against the McDonald's Corporation include the company's hiring practices. "If workers try to unionise, union busters show up the second they hear about it. It's been tried here," Durschmid said.
No-one was arrested at the protest.
[Picture of two protesters outside McDonald's headquarters holding signs saying "40 Years of McGarbage" and "Defend Free Speech".]