Crowds flock to Tecoma McDonald's opening
A long line of eager customers didn't seem to be deterred by protesters picketing outside Tecoma McDonald's which opened its doors Monday.PT1M16S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-368dd 620 349 April 7, 2014
Protesters rallying against a controversial new McDonald's restaurant on Melbourne's eastern fringe have failed to deter a flood of customers from queueing along the Burwood Highway as it opened for the first time on Monday.
About 80 protesters lined both sides of the highway outside the restaurant at Tecoma, at the foot of the Dandenongs. Its opening followed a heated battle over whether the fast food giant should be allowed to open in the Yarra Ranges town.
As the protesters waved banners and chanted “No maccas, no Tecoma” and “We don't want your French fries”, police and security guards managed the flow of customers entering the store shortly as it opened about 11am.
Would you like fries with that? The line-up of customers waiting to get inside the new Tecoma McDonald's far outnumbers protesters. Photo: Wayne Taylor
Licensee James Currie said he was excited to give 100 new employees the same opportunity he was afforded when he started working for McDonald's 39 years ago.
He said he respected the right to protest, but would do “whatever it takes” to ensure his staff and customers were safe.
“The protesters have the right to have an opinion, I respect that absolutely. They've committed to doing it peacefully and lawfully and as long as they continue to do that I don't have a issue with it,” he said.
“If the protesters don't honour their commitment of being peaceful and lawful then we'll take the appropriate action. As an employer I've got an obligation to do that and we'll do whatever is necessary.”
The protesters vowed to continue their fight against McDonald's following a three-year battle to keep the company out of the town. They said they would return every day until the company closed the franchise down.
Protester Bonnie Zudland vowed the campaign against McDonald's would continue
“To me this is a bigger fight than just one store in Tecoma, it's about the love of corporatism in this world,” the school teacher said.
“I'm pretty concerned about the health of the children in our community ... but mostly I'm opposed to the move by corporations worldwide.
“I teach at the local high school and I'm pretty concerned that James Currie has got a number of Upwey High School students employed. I think that that's really unprofessional and really lacks a sense of concern for those students well-being, particularly given that they know that some of their family and friends and their teachers are out here [protesting].”
Detective inspector Matthew Anderson confirmed extra police were on standby to respond if needed but said there was "no indication" the rally would get out of hand.
"We've got sufficient numbers and that's mainly because of the busy road here if we have to block it off," he said. "I've spoke to most [protesters] and I know their intention, they know how far they can protest.”
McDonald's employee Callam Boyd said the community opposition against the restaurant had not deterred him from applying for a job.
"Everyone has said 'well done, you're brave for working there'. I'm like 'I'm not that brave, it's just a job. You don't feel threatened by anyone," he said.
"I'm actually really excited for it to open because I just know it's going fantastic for the community. I think it [the protest] will all die off eventually.”