A group of 35 animal rights protesters staged a protest at a popular Melbourne steakhouse on Saturday night, chanting through megaphones and waving graphic signs.
The vegan activists, who identified themselves as members of Direct Action Everywhere Melbourne and the curiously-named Melbourne Cow Save Animal Liberation Army burst into Rare Steakhouse on King St in the Melb CBD at about 6:30pm.
Video posted by Melbourne Cow Save shows the protestors occupying two levels of the restaurant, shouting slogans at bewildered patrons.
Rare manager Arryanne McIntosh told News.com.au:
It was hard to communicate with them. I asked who was in charge and one lady said, ‘We all are.’ We were trying to talk to them but they were quite in-your-face with talking and speaking over the top of you – they were very loud, yelling.
Restaurant staff called the police, as customers in the venue became “very upset“.
There were a couple of tables that were very upset, to be honest, one table in particular was very emotional. We just did the bet we could to calm the people, give them comfort that the police were coming.
Staff and customers were reportedly pretty freaked out by the fact that a number of protestors were shoving phones and cameras into their faces, despite being asked not to film them.
Reactions on social media have, of course, been mixed. While some are praising the group for their direct approach, others – including other vegans – are not impressed.
One commenter identified themselves as vegan, and wrote:
This is not cool. Best way for non-vegans to think ill of vegans. People are spending money, buying a meal, uniting with family, celebrating their life’s joys, on dates. You have successfully ruined these moments for them, they will never want to hear from a vegan again.
Gotta be said, busting into a steak restaurant and yelling “It’s not food, it’s violence” is not exactly doing a whole lot to counter the dominant perceptions of vegans.
Police say the protestors left peacefully, and there were neither injuries nor arrests.