A long-running feud has pitted protesters from a small town of 2,000 people in the shadows of Australia’s temperate rainforest against one of the world’s most recognisable brands.
Tranquil Tecoma, 35km (20 miles) east of central Melbourne, has become a battleground between McDonald’s and “community” protesters over the construction of a 24-hour drive-through restaurant.
Opponents say the restaurant would be too close to a nursery and primary school, would damage other businesses and disrupt the fabric of a leafy community known for its artists and wildlife.
The plan was initially rejected by the local council, but the fast-food giant won an appeal at a state planning tribunal, and work on the site is under way.
It’s been a two-and-a-half-year fight spanning two continents.
Last month, campaigners delivered a petition containing 97,000 signatures to the company’s global headquarters in Chicago.
Looking for a ‘tree change’
“We knocked on the door of every house in Tecoma and we discovered that nine out of 10 people didn’t want this,” says Garry Muratore, a spokesman for No McDonald’s in the Dandenong Ranges, who denies the group is on an anti-corporate crusade.
“They have the legal right, but they don’t have the moral right.