Kentucky Fried Chicken's (KFC) launch in Finland was disrupted on Thursday when a man calling himself Benjamin announced he was a 'chicken lover' who was there to protest the company's animal rights record.
KFC had promised to provide the first in line at the new outlet free chicken for a year. The newspaper Helsingin Sanomat reported that Benjamin had set up his tent on Monday in order to stage his protest, under the guise of claiming his free food.
Iltalehti reported on Monday that the man had told them he was a "chicken lover".
At the opening ceremony he started to make a speech, called the occasion a "historic moment" and launched into his prepared remarks — which focused on animal rights rather than free fried food.
"I have queued here not for myself, but for billions of chickens and other oppressed animals," said Benjamin at the opening ceremony shortly before he and two other protesters were removed by security.
The plan had been for KFC to open its doors at 11:11am on 11 November, hand over the prize for the most enthusiastic KFC customer, and start selling fast food.
That was disrupted by the trio, who claimed to be part of a protest group called "Viral Vegans".
A video on the Ilta-Sanomat website showed three men wearing t-shirts bearing the text 'Love wins. Not Wings', and 'Don't turn your back on animal suffering' on the reverse.
KFC's record on animal rights has been more transparent than many fast-food chains, publishing a report on animal welfare in 2020.
On the other hand, the poultry purveyor admitted in that report that more than a third of the birds in its products in the UK and Ireland suffered from foot dermatitis, a painful foot condition that can stop animals from walking properly.