McDonald's has issued a stern denouncement following a series of protests at their Birmingham outlets, where live mice - stained in the colours of the Palestinian flag - were released by individuals allegedly protesting the company's actions amid the Israel-Gaza conflict. These startling incidents occurred at the Star City, Perry Barr, and Small Heath locations, disrupting patrons and business operations.
The protests are understood to be a reaction to a reported donation of 100,000 free meals by a McDonald's branch in Israel to soldiers and security forces following an assault launched from the Gaza Strip on October 7. This sparked a wave of calls from Pro-Palestinian activists to boycott the fast-food chain.
In response to the backlash, McDonald's clarified that the actions taken by the Israeli branch were independent and not endorsed by the corporation, emphasizing that McDonald's does not fund or support any governments engaged in the conflict. The company expressed its dedication to non-violence and openness, reaffirming its commitment to the safety and well-being of its employees and patrons in all regions.
Following the disturbances, the affected restaurants underwent immediate closure for sanitation and pest control assessments. West Midlands Police have arrested a 32-year-old man in connection with the incidents and are actively pursuing another suspect, Billal Hussain, aged 30. These mice releases have been classified as public nuisance offences, and authorities are conducting thorough investigations, calling on the public for additional information.
West Midlands Police confirmed that they are examining the possibility of a connection between the three instances, which have been widely publicised through social media, depicting the rodents' release among unsuspecting customers.
As the inquiry continues, McDonald's has reassured the public of their vigorous stance against hate speech and their intent to provide a safe, inclusive environment for all who visit their establishments.