An awareness campaign outside a Bradford McDonalds has been met with some scrutiny after members of the public claimed they were ‘intimidated not informed’ by protestors.
Groups have been gathering outside the establishments in recent weeks in an attempt to get others to boycott the fast food giants due to their alleged ties with Israel.
Support has been received in the bountiful with statistics showing a clear downward trend in McDonalds share prices since last month, primarily due to the brands expired meat scandal in China.
Yet, in what was supposed to be an awareness project, members of some group’s have been called ‘intimidating’ at times by some customers who have visited the sites.
One patron told the Asian Express that she had called into the Leeds Road in Thornbury, Bradford, site to pick up a milkshake for her eight-year-old daughter, when she was “harassed, shouted and sworn at” by a group of 20 young men and boys some of them with megaphones.
She said: “I respected their right and freedom to protest so why is my freedom not respected?
“How do you think my little child felt – she was frightened – all she wanted was a milkshake during our tedious drive back to Leeds during rush hour.
“Why should my child feel intimidated/bullied by anyone? My convertible’s hood was down and suddenly we were surrounded by the group. My daughter was told to “go to hell” by one of the protestors shouting into a megaphone which was a few inches from her face. I’d like to know how they’d react if someone screamed and hurled abuse at them in public.
She added: “I’m disgusted that a group of young Muslim people feel it’s appropriate to shout and terrorise people who are going about their own business. If anything they should be educating people who are not partaking in the protests making them aware of why they have chosen to boycott McDonalds.
“In principle I agree that campaigning and protesting makes a difference, and if people want to boycott brands – that’s absolutely their prerogative. If they want to spread their message, it should be with distribution of factual information so as to convince – not by screaming and shouting at people.”
The group reportedly chanted such phrases as “shame on you” and “burn in hell” to all people who entered the McDonalds premises.
Protestor on the day, Mohammad Islam says he just wanted to ensure their message was put across, and said he would work to ensure that, in future, people are not intimidated by his fellow-campaigners.
Explaining why the protest was taking place, he said: “We are here because genocide is taking place in our time in Gaza and we want to make the wider public aware.
“Every pound that goes into McDonalds is a bullet for the Israeli military and that is the message we wanted to get across. There are so many different outlets available with better business ethics, so why not use them?”
In regard to the chanting, Mr Islam did acknowledge that some phrases were perhaps too intimidating.
“The people that are here are not from one organisation,” he explained. “These kids are very smart, they have social media and have seen so much of what is happening around the world.
“They are angry but the things that come out of their mouths they don’t always know what they are saying.
“I have told them many times but they forget. I do my best.”
Jam Khan, who is a supporter of the ‘Boycott McDonalds’ campaigns, condemned any sort of hostile behaviour.
She directly contacted the aforementioned customer to denounce any sort of aggressive protest.
“This has really upset me,” she said. “This is a peaceful protest and our aim is to create awareness and respect everybody’s decision.
“If people choose to go that’s up to them, we have no right over any one – it’s not a riot. No one should feel intimidated or bullied.
“I’m going to get together with a few people and find a solution.”