Man throws rodents into a McDonald’s in UK in apparent anti-Israel protest

LONDON (Reuters) – British police said on Tuesday a man walked into a McDonald’s restaurant in central England and dumped dozens of live rodents dyed in the colours of the Palestinian flag on the floor, and the incident was under investigation.

Britain has seen increasing incidents of antisemitism since Israel launched a heavy bombardment of Gaza followed by a ground offensive in response to a Palestinian Hamas attack on Israel on Oct. 7. There have been reports of assaults, verbal abuse and damage to property in Britain, as elsewhere around the world.

Video on social media showed a man with what appears to be a Palestinian flag draped around his head, calmly carrying a box containing rodents, some dyed green and red, into the McDonald’s in Birmingham, and then tipping the animals on to the floor in front of horrified customers.

He can then be heard shouting “Fuck Israel”.

“We’re investigating after live rodents were thrown into a restaurant off Watson Road, Nechells, at around 5.30 p.m. yesterday,” West Midlands Police said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“We understand the distress this will have caused and it’s not acceptable in any circumstances.”

Police said the incident was being treated as a public nuisance offence.

“We are aware of an incident in our Birmingham Star City restaurant last night,” McDonald’s UK said in a statement. “The restaurant has been fully sanitised and our pest control partners have been called out to conduct a full inspection.”

Two weeks ago McDonald’s Israel said it had given thousands of free meals to Israeli military personnel, leading to the U.S. burger giant’s franchises in some Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, and Turkey to disassociate themselves from the Israeli franchise.

There have also been large demonstrations in London and elsewhere in support of Palestinians, with calls for a ceasefire in Gaza and for Israel to halt its siege of the enclave.

(Reporting by Michael Holden and Andrew MacAskill; editing by Mark Heinrich)