A 32-year-old man has been arrested in connection with several incidents of live rodents being thrown into McDonald’s restaurants in Birmingham.
West Midlands Police said it still wanted to speak to a second man, Billal Hussain, 30, over the incidents which occurred in Birmingham on Monday and Tuesday, in what appear to be protests related to the conflict in Gaza.
A video posted on social media on Monday showed customers at a McDonald’s restaurant jumping in shock as mice dyed in the colours of the Palestinian flag scurried near their feet, BBC News reported.
According to reports, pro-Palestinian activists have called for protests against McDonald’s after a restaurant in Israel donated meals to Israeli soldiers and security workers.
West Midlands Police said the incidents were being treated as public nuisances and appealed for anyone with information on the whereabouts of Hussain to come forward.
A 32-year-old man has this evening been arrested in connection with the incidents, but we are still appealing for information on the whereabouts of Bilal Hussain who is also wanted in connection with these offences.
More ➡️ https://t.co/lgWE88GG2N https://t.co/B6AqcSf4CK
— Birmingham Police (@BrumPolice) November 1, 2023
A spokesperson for McDonald’s said the firm was “dismayed” at “inaccurate reports regarding our position in response to the conflict in the Middle East”.
The spokesperson said: “McDonald’s Corporation is not funding or supporting any governments involved in this conflict, and any actions from our local developmental licensee business partners were made independently, without McDonald’s consent or approval.
“Our hearts are with all of the communities and families impacted by this crisis.
“We abhor violence of any kind and firmly stand against hate speech, and we will always proudly open our doors to everyone.”
The rodents were released at McDonald’s restaurants in Regina Drive, Perry Barr, at around 1.30pm on Tuesday, and off Watson Road, Nechells, at around 5.30pm on Monday.
A third incident which occurred just before 9pm on Tuesday in Coventry Road, Small Heath, is also being investigated but may be unconnected, West Midlands Police said.
The force added that the acts were “appalling” and would not be tolerated, and it would be stepping up patrols across the region.
McDonald’s said its restaurants had been closed for a full clean and visit from pest control partners, while staff were working with police to ensure customer safety.
Anyone with information on the individuals can contact West Midlands Police via live chat on their website, or by calling 101.