A little noticed protest against American President George W. Bush during his 22-hour swing through São Paulo, Brazil, in his present tour of Latin America, was staged Friday, March 9, inside a McDonald's restaurant at Avenida Jornalista Roberto Marinho, in São Paulo's south side.
Led by Gustavo Petta, the president of the National Students Union (UNE), a group of about 20 college students shouted slogans against Bush, sang the Brazilian national anthem and ate bananas.
Petta also made a speech mentioning how unhealthy McDonald's food was and tried to convince those inside the restaurant to join their banana eating protest.
Although amused no customer adhered to the protest, according to the G1 site. Frustrated with the reaction, the protesters ended up throwing the banana peels over a poster where Bush appeared with a Hitler mustache and leaving the place.Â
Commenting on the demonstration, McDonald's vice-manager, Gisela Jacob, criticized the act: "It was quite foolish. They should have joined the mother of João Hélio instead of finding fault with people who eat here." João Hélio was the six-year-old who was recently dragged and dismembered through the streets of Rio when his mother's car was stolen.Â
Still according to G1, Sandra Schmidt, a teacher who was at a table close to the protest with two children, was a little afraid that the demonstration would become violent. Her niece, she said, was scared with the noise.
Said Schmidt, for whom this kind of protest is useless: "I'm partially against such an act because it doesn't lead to anything. On the other hand, that's the only way they have to be heard."
Another customer, Fernanda Nascimento, accused the protesters of making her lose her appetite: "I thought it was a very bad idea. I'm also against Bush, but these guys don't have the courage to protest against our own government."
Earlier, Petta and his friends has participated in another protest just across the street from the Hilton Hotel where the Bushs were staying. At that time they burned a president Bush effigy and wrote in red letters on the asphalt: "Get out." The choice of red they explained was a way to "pay homage to the victims of the Iraq war.