On August 17th 1996 about 40-50 anti McDonald's campaigners gathered outside Sydenham McD's for a protest. Saturday Lunchtime is one of the busiest times for McD's. As well as the usual leaflets, placards, talking to customers etc, the activists produced a gas cooker and started serving up free hot vegan burgers and serving them to potential McCustomers. Giving out free, healthy veganburgers has been a great way to educate people about the McLibel case, about vegan diets and about all the other issues surrounding McDonald's. It also steals lots of customers off McD's. The McManagement get really mad when they see potential customers stop outside for a free healthy , non-corporate meal and a discussion on the evils of McDonald's. Anti McDonald's groups have started making plans for similiar vegan burger protests around NZ. Already we have had vegan picnics outside McD's in Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. Auckland activists are planning one for next month.
The development application for the proposed McD's at Katumba will be heard in 3 weeks. The campaign of opposition is going well and is getting wide support (eg. from trade unionists and business people). There's not many people in the area who are supportive of McDonald's, so the campaign is optimistic they can stop it. They're organising a protest on 16th October.
McD's opened their doors several days earlier than planned, and the corner beside the mountain is now bright yellow. sigh. We demonstrated on Wednesday Sept 25 -- that went well, but the media reports were unfavorable, as per usual. Many people in Montreal can't seem to figure out why we continue to put on what seems to them a futile fight to stop McD. Part of the problem is the distribution of a message -- people understand the anti-corporate thing, for the most part -- that McD's takes money out of the community ("they see us as a MARKET, not as a COMMUNITY"), and that their business is putting others out of business ... but then, in the same breath as "I understand", and "Good arguments", they'll say, "But we need the business in Montreal -- things are so bad economically"... and "why bother? they're SO huge!".
So... we still have lots to do regarding this issue. More meetings are planned, as well as more demos and more leafletting, but the site has gone pretty static for the moment -- "la rentree" (early fall -- back to school, back to work) is pretty hectic for everyone. We have to get the media to understand that it's an education thing -- that it's most important to get people to understand what McD's are about and then get them to stop eating there.
In a rare move, McDonald's has bowed to public pressure and withdrawn its plan to build a drive-thru restaurant in Winchmore Hill.
Article about McDonald's defeat in Winchmore Hill.