"Where there's Mac there's brass" (Front Page)
They looked pretty menacing: seven men and women from head office in dark blue suits amd unsmiling faces. They looked as if they had come to protect Ronald McDonald, promotional clown for the world's most famous fast food outlet. Some thought they were out of place at the kids' annual funday at Tower Gardens Play Centre in Tottenham, north London - among them Dave Morris whose son Charlie, aged seven, attends the centre. Mr Morris is well known to the $30-billion-a-year McDonald's Corporation: he is one of the "McLibel Two", and has spent the last two years defending himself in the High Court against McDonald's libel allegations.
The company, which spends $1.8 billion a year on publicity, was on a promotional visit, and donated 500 pounds to the centre. But the blue suits were not there in case Mr Morris made things difficult, a McDonald's employee said - only to make sure everybody was "having fun". The fun began when Ronald McDonald, with red hair, big boots and yellowish teeth, arrived in a white Cadillac with more minders. "Hallo, hallo," he said to a child. "What a lovely badge you have." He swept on, not realising the badge read: "Kids Against McDonald's".
The fun continued when Freddie, a large man, approached Mr Morris.
Freddie: "We want you to go."
Freddie: "You're an activist."
Morris: "What's it to do with you?"
Freddie: "Have you had an invitation?"
Morris: "My son is a member of this play scheme. Who are you?"
Ronnie started his act. Soon the children were giggling at his magic tricks, then screaming his name, and by the end Ronnie was calling them "my little fries" and dropping references to fast food.
"I think it's disgusting," one parent said. "They've hijacked our day. McDonald's...have used it for their own purposes."
But another said: "It's harmless, isn't it?"
**See McSpotlight's report of the hijacking of the Children's Funday.
Local residents, Eco-Quartier Mile End, and Les Amis de la Montaigne are
involved in demonstrations and protests regarding the proposed "development"
of our neighbourhood, a 120 year old area adjacent to Montreal's Parc
Mont-Royal, the centerpiece of our city.
McDonald's, who are renovating an existing restaurant site, want to place obtrusive signage and will increase garbage, noise, and traffic in the area. We want restrictions placed on such development given the location. PetroCanada, yet another large corporate entity, on the opposite corner to McDonald's, want to double the size of their property by demolishing a heritage building. They seek permission to build a 24h corner store (depanneur) that would kill off 5 local businesses. They plan other obnoxious 'developments' as well.
For further information as well as dates and times of planned protests, go to: http://www.nothingness.org/mcinfo/ .
Opposition to plans to convert the White Lion pub into a McDonald's
restaurant is building with protests by East Grinstead Animal Rights Group.
The fast food chain has submitted two planning applications to rebuild and
alter the pub in London Road and says it could either be a drive-thru
takeaway or a restaurant seating about 80.
The animal rights group has formed the East Grinstead Campaign Against the McDonald's Plan and says it is supported by the Green Party, Friends of the Earth and the McLibel Support Campaign. Campaigners' main objections to the takeaway plan are increased traffic, litter and destruction of the town's character.
Protesters opposed to the opening of a fast food outlet in East Grinstead
plan a petition to fight a scheme put forward by burger giant McDonald's.
McDonald's has been targetted for a boycott by some Jewish supporters who
condemn the selling of Big Macs just two blocks from the Dachau Death Camp
near Munich, Germany.
Thomas P. Leonard, 270 Briggs Street, Harrisburg, PA 17102, USA
I am a member of the Capital Area Greenbelt Association, a group in
Harrisburg, PA dedicated to maintaining and preserving a 20 mile park and
recreational trail that encircles the city of Harrisburg. The Association is
currently protesting the plans of McDonald's Corporation to build a new
drive-in restaurant on a section of the Greenbelt. Our story here is even
more extreme a case of abuse of the public interest by the corporation than
the other cases I have heard about. The taking of parkland that has been in
the public domain since 1915 is a horrible calamity that we are working hard
to prevent. We are planning to present our case to the company officials in
Chicago either by mail or phone. Additional letters and calls to McDonalds
will help our cause.