Police have arrested eight animal rights protesters after a group blockaded four McDonald’s distribution centres across the UK over the weekend.
Animal Rebellion, which led the protest, has called on the fast-food chain to commit to a fully plant-based menu by 2025.
Animal rights protesters arrested
In a statement, a spokesperson for Hampshire Police said:
“Eight people who were arrested following a protest that took place at an industrial estate off Houndmills Road, Basingstoke, have been charged with aggravated trespass.”
“They have also been charged with watching or besetting a house or place to compel the abstention or doing of a lawful act, an offence under Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992.”
Five of those people have been released on conditional police bail to appear at Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, June 8th.
Three others have been released on conditional police bail to appear at the same court on Thursday, June 10th, 2021.
It is estimated that the protests, which occurred from Saturday, May 22nd to Sunday, May 23rd, 2021 disrupted an estimated 1,900 lorries, which deliver to its 1,300 UK outlets.
‘The right to a peaceful protest’
West Midlands Police also released a statement, a spokesperson said: “We’re currently at a protest 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. Our presence remains as we continue to engage with the private companies affected. We’re also engaging with the activists who are carrying out their protest peacefully.”
“There is no disruption to the wider community. We recognise the right to a peaceful protest.”
“Also, 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 continue to monitor the situation while this protest continues.”
‘Coming for the rest of the animal agriculture industry’
In a statement, a spokesperson for Animal Rebellion said:
“We will stay here until we speak with the CEO of McDonald’s, and they commit to transitioning to fully plant-based by 2025.”
“McDonald’s is one of the most well-known symbols of the meat and dairy industry. They contribute to the deaths of billions of animals per year, fund the destruction of the Amazon and fuel meat and dairy production, one of the leading causes of the climate crisis.”
“Yet they’re not our only target – we’re coming for the rest of the animal agriculture industry too. We need to act. We need to take direct action. We need a plant-based food system now,” the spokesperson added.
A spokesperson for McDonald’s confirmed, yesterday, (Monday, May 24th) that all four sites had re-opened and are operating as normal.