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1 Apr, 2024 17:29

Anti-Israel protesters torch KFC

The Islamic Republic of Pakistan has seen rising calls to boycott Western companies over the Gaza conflict
Anti-Israel protesters torch KFC

A crowd chanting anti-Israel slogans set fire to a KFC fast food restaurant in the Pakistan-administered region of Kashmir on Friday night, leading to the arrest of more than 50 people, AFP reports, citing police.

The police chief of the city of Mirpur told the outlet over the weekend that nearly 400 protesters had gathered at the height of the demonstration, sparking clashes with law enforcement.

“We had told them that they can only protest in a certain area. But, when their numbers started growing, they made their way over to KFC,” Kamran Mughal told AFP, adding that nine police officers were injured when the demonstrators pelted them with rocks.

The crowd then set fire to the fast-food restaurant, shouting that they were burning KFC as people ran out onto the street to escape the fire.

The building did not completely burn down, according to the AFP. Videos circulating on social media show smashed windows, broken furniture and damaged equipment.

Pakistan, an Islamic republic, has seen growing calls to boycott KFC in recent months amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict.

Originally known as Kentucky Fried Chicken, KFC is the world’s second-largest restaurant chain after McDonald’s, with over 22,000 locations globally in 150 countries as of December 2019. Its parent company, Yum Brands, has been hit by boycotts over its decision to continue doing business in Israel and its investment in Israeli start-ups.

Numerous major Western brands, and particularly US fast-food giants, have lost customers and seen profits dented in Muslim countries due to boycott campaigns targeting companies seen as supporting Israel’s war in Gaza.

Israel launched its operation in Gaza following an incursion by Hamas militants into the southern part of the country last October. During the attack, over 1,200 people were killed and scores of hostages were abducted. The Israeli campaign has left at least 32,000 people dead, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. UN Human Rights Council rapporteur Francesca Albanese has accused Israel of “genocide” in the enclave.

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