This Week in Campaigns
October 29 - 8 November

Each week McSpotlight will bring you the latest news on worldwide protests and campaigning events against McDonald's and other multinationals.

    October 1996

    The county surveyors decided the traffic figures produced by their agents were flawed. The decision on the proposed store looked set to be delayed another month because the new traffic figures are unlikely to be ready for the meeting of the District Council on 7th November.

    McDonald's were granted planning permission by the Mid-Sussex District Council on 7th November 1996 to build a drive-thru on the site of the White Lion pub, London Road, East Grinstead.

    result The District Council voted 5 to 4 in favour of the plan, despite the fact that the Town Council had rejected the plans and recommended refusal two days beforehand. Campaigners against the plan believe that the councillors in the District Council (which meets at Haywards Heath not at East Grinstead) were swayed by the threat that McDonald's would take this to a costly appeal if they were refused. Also, they took the traffic report of the county surveyor at face value, whereas the Town Council were not convinced of the veracity of the traffic survey. The Deputy Mayor had two days earlier given an impassioned plea to reject the scheme, saying that even a 1% increase in traffic would be intolerable. East Grinstead's roads are already choked, and the Deputy Mayor had dismissed the county surveyor's report as 'cavalier'.

    East Grinstead will now be blighted by a McDonald's drive-thru. But it's been adopted by campaigners to be regularly leafletted before it's even built!

    They mobilised support for their campaign from across all spectrums of the community. The issues have been raised and discussed in detail - in council meetings, in a public forum, in the columns and letter pages of the local newspapers, in schools, and on the streets. The Coalition gave it their best shot but the pro-development planning laws, and a bunch of non-East-Grinstead-residents made things turn out different from the desired outcome of people living there. The prevailing mood of the town was ignored. But the public debate was won by the opponents of the plan - they've exposed McDonald's for what they really are.

    This is an enormously controversial decision - it's being reported on the local radio, TV and in the papers. But there's two other parts to the story that should keep McDonald's worrying:

    1. On 24th October 1996, the Chancery Division of the High Court made an order staying the purchase of the White Lion pub to McDonald's. Contracts have been exchanged. But Chris Rodda (a solicitor acting for those administering a trust, which includes the company 'owning' the White Lion) told a local newspaper that completion has been halted by the court order. The order was sought by Freda Khazale (the widow of the pub landlord) who says that the pub is in her children's names and that it has never been legally for sale.

    2. Campaigners in East Grinstead are making an application to the local government ombudsman complaining of 'maladministration' on the part of the District Council in allowing McDonald's planning permission. The campaigners are asserting that the Council were biased, that they failed to follow the proper procedure, and that the traffic figures don't hold up. SO THE BATTLE CONTINUES...

Background to the East Grinstead protest:


McSpotlight Press Release

Tuesday 29 October 1996; UK
McInformation Network

[Press release outlining McSpotlight's recent activity.]

Cold Shoulder for McDonald's in Chiltern Town
Princes Risborough, Oxfordshire, UK
October, 1996

The sleepy town of Princes Risborough, set in the rolling Chiltern Hills have turned down a proposal from McDonald's to open up in their High St. As far as can be ascertained, the main objection concerned the focus this type of store becomes for 'potential trouble'.

Protests in Spain: UPDATE

October 1996
There were three demonstrations in Barcelona, one of which was followed by a veggie dinner for 100 people, discussions, and a screening of the McLibel Video with a simultaneous translation into Spanish. There were also protests in Malaga and Zaragoza.


By Robert Melnbardis; Reuters

In providing a present-day view of Olmsted's parks, the exhibition also illustrates the importance of protecting such green space from encroachment by concrete, asphalt, glass and steel. It took decades for Olmsted's parks to mature, and along the way they were threatened by developers, tinkered with by ambitious landscapers or simply suffered from neglect.

"In the 1960s, Central Park was in a state of advanced entropy -- everything was being trampled to death," said Geoffrey James, the British photographer who proposed the Olmsted project to Lambert years ago. Today, 135-year-old Central Park is among the most protected of Olmsted's parks. Its environmental importance has been confirmed in scientific reports and private citizens and corporations have raised millions of dollars to restore it.

But the battle to preserve Olmsted's legacy continues. Over the years, protectors of Mont-Royal, the only mountain park Olmsted created, have fended off developers who wanted to build massive communications towers or turn it into a commercial ski hill. Local residents opposed to a recently opened McDonalds outlet just off the northeast edge of Mont-Royal have picketed the restaurant, calling it an affront to the natural environment.

The opening of the CCA's Olmsted exhibition coincided with the World Conservation Congress, a gathering in Montreal of 2,000 international conservation specialists who will discuss measures to protect the planet's biodiversity. Lambert said the theme fits well with the notion that Olmsted's parks have changed urban society for the better and must be preserved.

"The question is what can we do now that will help them continue to have that impact for another 100 years," she said.

Protest programme at University

University of British Colombia
Vancouver, Canada

Activists from the University of British Colombia have staged a McHelloween protest. Unfortunatley, the press release and details got to us too late to announce the protest events before they happened. However, from the schedule and programme it is obvious that the event was extremely well organised and comprehensive. Watch this space for details of the event ....

Press Release

This Thursday is McHelloween at UBC

The UBC Student Coalition Against McDonald's to stage an afternoon of protest against the giant fast-food chain; Ronald McDonald and Grimace to join the march to McDonald's

UBC SUB Conversation Pit, October 31, 1996: The Student Coalition Against McDonald's (SCAM) is at it again. Last Valentine's Day, all of Vancouver saw SCAM's mascot, Bovine the Cow, throw a pie in the face of Ronald McDonald. Now Ronald has learned the evil of his ways, gone vegetarian, and joined SCAM in their battle against the corporatization of campus and McDonald's, specifically, for their shameful environmental and ethical track record. Ronald, Grimace, SCAM and other protesting students will start the day in the SUB Building Conversation Pit, just north of the bus loop.

Here, at the highest traffic area on campus, everyone will gather at 11:30 AM to watch the Simpsons episode in which Lisa becomes a vegetarian, followed by some graphic videos about the industry from which companies like McDonalds obtain their meat (not quite like the Hamburger Patch).

Following the showing of the videos, at 12:30 PM students will remain at the SUB Conversation Pit for a twenty minute talk by SCAM member, Brian Fuller. Brian will outline exactly what is wrong with McDonalds: McWasteful, McUnhealthy, McMurder, McMistreatment of Employees, and McCampus Corporatization.

At 12:50 PM, the March to Mickeys begins! McDonalds is conveniently located just a ten-minute walk from the SUB, so no amount of rain will stop Ronald and the gang. The highlight of the protest occurs from 1:00 - 1:30 PM, as everyone will gather in front of the campus McDonalds at University Boulevard and Western Parkway. SCAM members will be handing out flyers to McDonald's customers, raising banners, and having some honest Halloween fun.

From 1:40 - 2:30 PM, everyone will be back at the SUB Conversation Pit for an update on the McLibel Trial, a long-running British case in which Mcdonald's is attempting to sue two Greenpeace activists for libel, but have effectively been put on trial themselves. Throughout the afternoon, vegetarian food will be served along with free desserts (which are also free of animal products).

Schedule of Events

This is the official schedule for Thursday, October 31 - McHelloween.

All events take place in the SUB Conversation Pit unless otherwise noted.

* Vegetarian food will be served from 12:30 - 2:30 PM *

* Free deserts (and their egg and milk-free recipes) ! *

* Don't miss Ronald McDonald, Grimace or the Hamburglar! *


1st November 1996
Outside the High Court of Justice

Today our case has become the longest trial of any kind in British history. It's a milestone for us and critics of the food industry, but a millstone for the $30 billion dollar a year McDonald's Corporation. Their official forecast was that it would last '3-4 weeks', but the tables have been turned and the fast food giant has found itself on trial.

The reason it has been taking so long is that the UK's oppressive libel laws have allowed McDonald's to sue over a wide range of common sense views on matters of great public importance which naturally we've had an obligation to defend...such as the links between diet and ill-health, the fact that packaging is wasteful and ends up as litter, and that McJobs are low-paid with few rights for the workers.

Rather than succeeding in silencing their critics, McDonald's efforts have backfired, provoking growing public protest all over the world - 2 million leaflets have been handed out in the UK alone since the writs were served on us, and thousands of people have pledged to continue to distribute leaflets whatever the verdict in the case. Now there's even an Internet site (called 'McSpotlight') devoted to making available world-wide at the push of a button everything McDonald's dont want people to know but have failed to stop people finding out about.

Despite being denied Legal Aid and our right to a jury trial, we've defended ourselves and believe that the information that's been uncovered and admissions we've obtained from McDonald's executives and consultants in the witness box have vindicated our stand. We believe the public have the right to scrutinise and challenge the business practices of multinationals, and for that reason such organisations should no longer be allowed to use the libel laws as a form of censorship.

We are exhausted by this long marathon, but determined to continue to campaign for a world without exploitation and oppression of people, animals and the environment.

Dave Morris and Helen Steel

Melbourne protest has 200 out on the streets

16th October, 1996

Approxiamately 200 protestors from a wide variety of backgrounds congregated in the city square to mark the International Day of Protest Against McDonald's. The march proceeded up Collin's Street to the vocal chorus of protest songs, screams and chants. Drummers 'provided the rythmn of life'!

The protest was marshalled by a large number of police and (more worringly) by private security personnel. Stores were nonetheless disrupted and business affected - and leaflets handed out. Banners of various designs were paraded - amongst which a few were carrying the McSpotlight url, aswell as Smash The Mac and others condemning cultural neo-colonialism.

The protest ended at 6 p.m., some 6 hours after its started.


26 October, 1996

At least a dozen activists with the Animal Rights Education Action League blocked an entrance with their bodies (Saturday, 10/26/96) at the McDonald's on Route 13 between 12:45pm and 1:30pm.

Other activists entered the store and passed out fliers decrying the fast-food giant's use of products which cause pain and suffering to countless animals and humans.

The protest turned confrontational when one customer, determined to get into the parking lot, ran over an activist's foot, and another literally rammed another protester, possibly breaking her knee. An ambulance had to be called.

A McDonald's employee and a bystander picked up a protester and dragged him across the parking lot. He did not resist nor retaliate, and police soon took control of the scene.

Says AREAL activist Bryan Pease, "The strength of a non-violent campaign lies in our willingness to take personal risk without endangering others. We will continue to engage in militant direct action and civil disobedience until the atrocities stop." At least 14 vehicles that attempted to enter the restaurant were turned away, which translates into less animals being tortured and slaughtered, less indigenous people being evicted from their land, and less rainforest being burned. The "Band of Mercy," an underground animal rights group,sabotaged this same McDonald's on Oct. 16, gluing locks and throwing a banner down off the roof of the restaurant attacking McDeath's murder of animals and the plant for greed.

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