Reuters report growing US boycott

Opposition to US imperialism in the form of consumer boycotts of
American products and services is spreading across the world. Boycott of
American Goods Over Iraq War Gains

by Erik Kirschbaum

BERLIN - No more Coca-Cola or Budweiser, no Marlboro, no American
whiskey or even American Express cards -- a growing number of
restaurants in Germany are taking everything American off their menus to
protest the war in Iraq.

Although the protests are mainly symbolic, waiters in dozens of bars
and restaurants in Hamburg, Berlin, Munich, Bonn and other German
cities are telling patrons, "Sorry, Coca-Cola is not available any
more due to the current political situation."

The boycotts appear to be part of a nascent worldwide movement. One
Web site,, calls for boycotts of 27 top
American firms from Microsoft to Kodak while another,, urges the "millions of people against the war" to
"Boycott Brand America."

Consumer fury seems to be on the rise. Demonstrators in Paris smashed the
windows of a McDonald's restaurant last week, forcing police in riot gear
to move in to protect staff and customers of the American fast-food
outlet. The attackers sprayed obscenities and "boycott" on the windows.

In Indonesia, Iraq war opponents have pasted signs on McDonald's and
other American food outlets, trying to force them shut by "sealing
them" and urging Indonesians to avoid them.

In the Swiss city of Basel, 50 students recently staged a sit-down
strike in front of a McDonald's to block customers' entry, waved
signs and urged people to eat pretzels instead of hamburgers.

Anti-American sentiment has even reached provinces in Russia, where
some rural eateries put up signs telling Americans they were
unwelcome, according to an Izvestia newspaper report.

A German bicycle manufacturer, Riese und Mueller GmbH, canceled all
business deals with its American suppliers.

"Americans only pay attention when money is on the line," director
Heiko Mueller told Reuters, whose firm buys $300,000 worth of
from half a dozen American firms each year.

"We wanted to make a statement against this war and told our American
partners that unless they renounce what their government is doing we won't
do any business with them anymore."


The German restaurant boycotts of American products started small but
spread rapidly after the Iraq war began on Thursday. The conflict has
struck a raw nerve in a country that became decidedly anti-war after the
devastation of World War II, which it initiated.

"If people all around the world boycott American products it might
influence their policies," said Jean-Yves Mabileau, owner of
"L'Auberge Francaise" which joined 10 Hamburg restaurants in banning
Coca Cola, Philip Morris' Marlboro cigarettes, whiskey and other
American goods.

"This started as a light-hearted reaction to Americans dumping French wine
in the gutter and renaming 'French Fries' as 'Freedom Fries'," he said.
"But it feels good to take a stand against this war. It is just a small
gesture, but a good one."

Diners at the Osteria restaurant in Berlin are finding that "things
better without Coke" and are ordering Germany's long overshadowed
imitation of "the real thing" -- the slightly sweeter "Afri-Cola" --
to express their outrage.

"We wanted to do something to express our annoyance," Osteria owner
Fabio Angile told Reuters. "We want to hit America where it hurts --
in their wallets. None of the customers have complained. On the
contrary, most thought it was a great idea."

Herve Keroureda, owner of a French restaurant in Hamburg known as "Ti
Breizh," said he was astonished by the massive media coverage of their
small-scale anti-American protest.

"It was only intended as a small gesture but has turned into a
gigantic issue," he said. "And the reaction from the patrons has been
tremendous. Most have called it a brilliant idea."

In Bonn, bartender Bruno Kessler said he was refusing to sell
whiskey or American beer such as Anheuser-Busch's Budweiser at his
"Eifeler Stuben."

"I asked myself 'What can I possibly do to show my anger over this
barbary?'," he told Germany's N-24 television network.


Sarah Stolz, a 22-year-old German student of American studies, was
headed for a Starbucks, coffee shop in central Berlin when her
anti-war conscience got the best of her.

"I was thinking about going into Starbucks which I love, when I
realized it was wrong," she said. "I'm backing the boycott because
war is totally unjustified."

Rita Marschall was avoiding McDonald's and Burger King.

"I'm boycotting American products because their policy on Iraq is
totally wrong," said Marschall, 26, in front of a Berlin McDonald's.
"It's just one of many ways we can take a stand."

Some German bakeries have renamed a local cake known as "Amerikaner"
-- a disk-shaped pastry with icing on top -- as "Peace-ies," bearing a
peace sign piped in chocolate sauce.

The boycotts are having only a negligible business impact.
Establishments often associated with the American way of life such as
Starbucks, Dunkin' Donuts, McDonald's and Coca-Cola reported no major
business impact from the protests. Dunkin Donuts is owned by Britain's
Allied Domecq

"We're really a local business in Germany, the product is made in
Germany and they're boycotting German products," said Jonathan
Chandler, communications director for Coca-Cola Europe, Eurasia and
the Middle East in London.

Chandler declined comment on whether it was hurting sales, but an
industry source said any impact would not be serious.

A spokeswoman for McDonald's in Europe said there had been no
discernible impact on sales from the actions, and described the
on the Paris restaurant as "an unfortunate incident during a

"As a global entity, McDonald's is just a brand," she said. "Most of
the restaurants are local franchises and support their local
community. So why do they attack McDonald's? If you get a good answer
please let me know."

In the London suburb of Milton Keynes, the Greens party have called
consumers to boycott 330 American products ranging from Mars bars to
Gap jeans and American films on DVD and video.

In Zurich, travel agents said some clients who usually take holidays
in the United States are changing their destinations.

"Some of the most loyal customers who have been traveling to the
United States for years have changed their plans because they don't
like what Bush is doing," Lucia Zeller, director of the Travac travel
agency, told the Tages Anzeiger newspaper. --- Greenpeace:
Momentum Builds for New UN Peace Resolution

Demands for a UN emergency session are on the rise! 32,015 of you
have written to UN Ambassadors around the world. You've sent 29,700
E-cards to friends, colleagues, fellow students, and family members.
This is an extraordinary response in a very short time, and what do
want??? MORE!

Why? This is a crucial week. No nation has yet stepped forth to get
the ball rolling, though many have expressed their support for the
Uniting for Peace resolution, which would bring all nations of the
General Assembly together to demand an end to the war. You can read
more in the following story about how the Uniting for Peace
has stopped wars in progress in the past:

But the resolution needs even more support NOW, because the US has
begun an active lobbying campaign against it.

According to Reuters, "The United States has launched a worldwide
diplomatic drive to head off the calling of an emergency session..."
The US has circulated angry letters to many countries stating that
"Given the current highly charged atmosphere, the United States would
regard a General Assembly session on Iraq as unhelpful and as directed
against the United States."

If they're worried about this, it's a good sign.

Over the last week, the Russian Duma, the President of Indonesia,
several European countries and the vast majority of African, Asian,
and Latin American countries have expressed support for an emergency

UN General Assembly President Jan Kavan of the Czech Republic said he
thought it "very likely" that a special session would be called.

But we can't just leave this to "likely."

It's important that a Uniting for Peace resolution passes to show the
overwhelming opposition of the world's countries to this war. and to make
abundantly clear its illegality.

We're part of what the New York Times has called the "new second
superpower": world opinion, and it is time our voices were listened