Vegan Extinction Rebellion fanatics blockade McDonald’s for second day


A demonstration by vegan activists has entered its second day as protestors block food distribution sites for McDonald’s with police left unable to remove them from the scene. 

Up to 100 Animal Rebellion demonstrators blocked the entrances to distribution sites in Hemel Hempstead, Basingstoke, Coventry and Greater Manchester using trucks and shackling themselves to bamboo structures at around 4am yesterday.

At around 5pm the group, which is demanding fast food giant McDonald’s commit to becoming fully plant-based by 2025, revealed police left for the night at sites in Coventry and Manchester.

It is understood police broke up the demonstrations at Hemel Hempstead and Basingstoke overnight. It is not known whether anyone was arrested and police have been contacted for comment.

James Ozden, a spokesperson for Animal Rebellion, said: ‘The meat and dairy industry is destroying our planet: causing huge amounts of rainforest deforestation, emitting immense quantities of greenhouse gases and killing billions of animals each year.

‘The only sustainable and realistic way to feed ten billion people is with a plant-based food system. Organic, free-range and ‘sustainable’ animal-based options simply aren’t good enough.’ 

Pictured: Protestors remain on site in Coventry blocking the entrance to a McDonald’s food distribution site as part of an environmental demonstration which has also seen blockades put in place in Manchester, Hemel Hempstead and Basingstoke

The protestors are urging fast food giant McDonalds to switch to a plant-based menu in a bid to tackle climate change. Pictured: A local man brought the protestors breakfast this morning after they remained on site demonstrating overnight

The protestors are urging fast food giant McDonalds to switch to a plant-based menu in a bid to tackle climate change. Pictured: A local man brought the protestors breakfast this morning after they remained on site demonstrating overnight

Animal Rebellion will remain at the scene until 10am this morning, meaning they would have done ‘a full 30 hours’, according to a spokesman for the group.

The group – which had been planning the blockade for ‘months’ – is an offshoot of Extinction Rebellion, which blocked access to three newspaper printing presses in September last year.

Many of the Extinction Rebellion activists involved in one of the printing plant blockades also attended the McDonald’s protest in Heywood, Greater Manchester, yesterday, The Times reports

Yesterday, McDonald’s said it is ‘assessing the impact’ of the protests on items’ availability in some 1,300 affected restaurants. It apologised to customers for ‘any disappointment caused’.

In a video shared to Animal Rebellion’s Twitter and Instagram accounts last night, group spokesman James Ozden said in Coventry: ‘The protest removal teams have left, leaving only one car. And they’ve said there will be no protest removal tonight so all the vans have left.

‘We will be guaranteed to be here up until 10am tomorrow morning which means we will have done a full 30 hours when we leave.’

The activist said the absence of police ‘shows the power of direct action’. He said the group planned to ‘have a dance’ as they headed into the evening.

Footage taken at the Coventry scene appeared to show some arrests earlier in the day. West Midlands Police have been approached for comment.

The group shared the clip with the caption: ‘Police have left two sites. Both Coventry and Manchester police teams have left our two sites to continue blockading McDonalds until tomorrow morning. 

‘That will be a total of at least 30 hours. Another win for direct action! Now join the rebellion and get involved.’ 

A McDonalds spokesperson earlier said: ‘Our distribution centres are currently facing disruption. 

‘We are assessing the impact on deliveries to our restaurants and to menu items. We apologise to our customers for any disappointment caused.’

In a video shared to Animal Rebellion's Twitter and Instagram, group spokesman James Ozden said in Coventry (pictured): 'The protest removal teams have left, leaving only one car. And they've said there will be no protest removal tonight so all the vans have left'

In a video shared to Animal Rebellion’s Twitter and Instagram, group spokesman James Ozden said in Coventry (pictured): ‘The protest removal teams have left, leaving only one car. And they’ve said there will be no protest removal tonight so all the vans have left’

A man lies on the road as animal rights protesters began blockading four of the UK distribution centres belonging to McDonald's

A man lies on the road as animal rights protesters began blockading four of the UK distribution centres belonging to McDonald’s

Animal rights protesters are blockading four UK distribution centres for McDonald's which they say will impact roughly 1,300 restaurants. Pictured: The Manchester site

Animal rights protesters are blockading four UK distribution centres for McDonald’s which they say will impact roughly 1,300 restaurants. Pictured: The Manchester site

Animal Rebellion said they are using trucks and bamboo structures at the distribution sites in Hemel Hempstead, Basingstoke, Coventry and Heywood, Greater Manchester, to stop lorries from leaving depots

Animal Rebellion said they are using trucks and bamboo structures at the distribution sites in Hemel Hempstead, Basingstoke, Coventry and Heywood, Greater Manchester, to stop lorries from leaving depots

The group is demanding that McDonald's commit to becoming fully plant-based by 2025. Pictured: A protester at one of the sites

The group is demanding that McDonald’s commit to becoming fully plant-based by 2025. Pictured: A protester at one of the sites

Animal Rebellion said they intend to remain at the sites for at least 24 hours, causing ‘significant disruption’ to the McDonald’s supply chain

Mr Ozden said the action is aimed at calling out the animal agriculture industry for their part in the global climate crisis.

He said: ‘The meat and dairy industry is destroying our planet: causing huge amounts of rainforest deforestation, emitting immense quantities of greenhouse gases and killing billions of animals each year.

‘The only sustainable and realistic way to feed ten billion people is with a plant-based food system. Organic, free-range and ‘sustainable’ animal-based options simply aren’t good enough.’

The group added in a statement: ‘We’re shutting down McDonald’s distribution to all of its 1300 UK restaurants today because of their responsibility for the climate emergency, the cutting down of the Amazon rainforest to make way for grazing cattle, and their continued refusal to take action and shift to a plant-based menu.

‘Our activists are locked into concrete tubes and secured on bamboo constructions, and it’s wet and cold, but we’re here until McDonald’s release a statement or meet with us to discuss how they can play a fairer role in our collective future.

‘For decades all they’ve been interested in is profit, with some of the unhealthiest foods you can eat. Climate change, deforestation, and animal agriculture are the greatest threats to this planet – not to mention the obesity crisis fed by fast food. There’s no McFish on a dead planet. We need to act now.’

James Ozden, a spokesman for the group, said the action is aimed at calling out the animal agriculture industry for their part in the global climate crisis

He said: 'The meat and dairy industry is destroying our planet: causing huge amounts of rainforest deforestation, emitting immense quantities of greenhouse gases and killing billions of animals each year'

He said: ‘The meat and dairy industry is destroying our planet: causing huge amounts of rainforest deforestation, emitting immense quantities of greenhouse gases and killing billions of animals each year’

He continued: 'The only sustainable and realistic way to feed ten billion people is with a plant-based food system. Organic, free-range and 'sustainable' animal-based options simply aren't good enough'

He continued: ‘The only sustainable and realistic way to feed ten billion people is with a plant-based food system. Organic, free-range and ‘sustainable’ animal-based options simply aren’t good enough’

Nick More, renewable energy developer and member of Amazon Rebellion, said: ‘McDonald’s and the wider animal agriculture industry is clearly responsible for huge levels of deforestation in the Amazon Basin and wider Pantanal region.

‘Despite their apparent greenwashing, there is no transparency in their supply chain or independent audit sufficient to support their claims that they are not a driver of deforestation.’

Protester Linda Doyle, 28, is part of the blockade at McDonald’s distribution centre in Coventry. 

The group added in a statement: 'We're shutting down McDonald's distribution to all of its 1300 UK restaurants because of their responsibility for the climate emergency, the cutting down of the Amazon rainforest to make way for grazing cattle, and their continued refusal to take action and shift to a plant-based menu'

The group added in a statement: ‘We’re shutting down McDonald’s distribution to all of its 1300 UK restaurants because of their responsibility for the climate emergency, the cutting down of the Amazon rainforest to make way for grazing cattle, and their continued refusal to take action and shift to a plant-based menu’

It added: 'For decades all they've been interested in is profit, with some of the unhealthiest foods you can eat. Climate change, deforestation, and animal agriculture are the greatest threats to this planet - not to mention the obesity crisis fed by fast food. There's no McFish on a dead planet. We need to act now'

It added: ‘For decades all they’ve been interested in is profit, with some of the unhealthiest foods you can eat. Climate change, deforestation, and animal agriculture are the greatest threats to this planet – not to mention the obesity crisis fed by fast food. There’s no McFish on a dead planet. We need to act now’

Linda, speaking from the top of a bamboo tower, said the campaigners planned to stay for at least 24 hours.

Other protestors at the site have lay down in the road blocking lorries from exiting to supply restaurants with food products.

A truck with a banner reading ‘Plant-based food system’ is parked in the road blocking the route onto the site also.

‘Animal Rebellion’, affiliated with XR, claimed on Twitter that police teams left two sites in Coventry and Manchester to continue blockading the fast-food chain until tomorrow. 

They wrote: ‘Both Coventry and Manchester police teams have left our two sites to continue blockading McDonalds until tomorrow morning. 

‘That will be a total of at least 30 hours. Another win for direct action!’

Linda said: ‘We’ve been here since 4am and we’re going to block it for at least 24 hours.

‘It is cold and it is raining, but we’re planning to stick in here for a good stint.

‘We don’t want to be doing this, but it’s essential to draw attention to the fact that McDonald’s would be delivering to 1,300 restaurants around the country.

Protestors gather outside McDonald's distribution centre in Hemel Hempstead Industrial Estate

Protestors gather outside McDonald’s distribution centre in Hemel Hempstead Industrial Estate

The group are demanding McDonald's commit to becoming fully plant-based by 2025 in a bid to to 'stop the climate crisis and end the suffering of animals'

Animal Rebellion protester suspended from a bamboo structure outside a McDonald's distribution site in Hemel Hempstead

The group are demanding McDonald’s commit to becoming fully plant-based by 2025 in a bid to to ‘stop the climate crisis and end the suffering of animals’. Right: Animal Rebellion protester suspended from a bamboo structure outside a McDonalds distribution site in Hemel Hempstead

Animal Rebellion protesters release a yellow smoke canister outside the McDonald's distribution site in Basingstoke, Hampshire, which is being blockaded to stop lorries from leaving the depot

Animal Rebellion protesters release a yellow smoke canister outside the McDonald’s distribution site in Basingstoke, Hampshire, which is being blockaded to stop lorries from leaving the depot

Some 100 activists descended on the sites  around the UK early yesterday morning and said they intend to remain there for at least 24 hours. Pictured: Protestors in Hemel Hempstead

Some 100 activists descended on the sites  around the UK early yesterday morning and said they intend to remain there for at least 24 hours. Pictured: Protestors in Hemel Hempstead

Animal Rebellion say they hoped their actions cause 'significant economic disruption' to the McDonald's supply chain and result in a shortage of stock. Pictured: Protestors carry a bamboo structure to the site in Hemel Hempstead

Animal Rebellion say they hoped their actions cause ‘significant economic disruption’ to the McDonald’s supply chain and result in a shortage of stock. Pictured: Protestors carry a bamboo structure to the site in Hemel Hempstead

The distribution centres are said to supply approximately 1,300 restaurants and serve 3.5 million customers each day

The distribution centres are said to supply approximately 1,300 restaurants and serve 3.5 million customers each day 

‘We need the government to stop funding animal agriculture, which causes the same amount of emissions as the transport sector.

‘We want the government to help farmers move to plant-based agriculture.

‘More than 70 per cent of agricultural land is used for farming animals, but only 18 per cent of our calories come from meat. A plant-based food system is possible.

‘Civil disobedience and direct action does work, I was passionate about getting involved and I decided to sacrifice my Saturday to come down here.’

A fellow protestor, who wished to be identified only as Chris, blasted McDonald’s for not taking action to prevent a climate crisis.

He said: ‘We’re taking proportionate action in the face of the biggest unknown crisis humanity has ever faced.

‘The climate crisis being fuelled by animal agriculture.

Protesters sit a bamboo structure and on top of a van, being monitored by police officers, outside a McDonalds distribution site in Basingstoke, Hampshire

Protesters sit a bamboo structure and on top of a van, being monitored by police officers, outside a McDonalds distribution site in Basingstoke, Hampshire

 ‘McDonald’s is a symbol of animal agriculture and corporate power. Their business model is profit at all costs.

‘Profit at the expense of animals, people that are being pushed off their land in the Amazon rainforest.

‘Other than add a vegan burger on their menu, McDonald’s has done nothing to change this.

‘Expecting people to change their behaviour is no longer appropriate, the time for action is now.’

West Midlands Police said the protest at Coventry was causing ‘safety concerns’ because it is blocking the exit and entrances of the building.

A spokesperson said: ‘We are aware of a protest currently taking place in the Canley area of Coventry which is preventing access to a distribution centre. 

‘This is linked to a national day of action by animal rights activists.

‘We have a police presence on site and have been engaging with the activists in attempts to minimise disruption.

Protestors say they plan to stay for at least 24 hours. Pictured: Protestors gather outside McDonald's distribution centre in Hemel Hempstead

Protestors say they plan to stay for at least 24 hours. Pictured: Protestors gather outside McDonald’s distribution centre in Hemel Hempstead

‘We recognise the right to a peaceful protest, however there are safety concerns as the sole entrance and exit point to the distribution site has been blocked and this is causing significant disruption to businesses, which we are taking seriously.

‘We have asked the small group of activists to remain mindful of road users and in particular emergency vehicles and will continue to maintain an open dialogue with them.

‘We would like to thank the public and the local businesses affected for their patience and understanding while this protest continues.’  

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