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Archive for Saturday, October 28, 1995

STUDENTS PROTEST PEPSICO IN BURMA

October 28, 1995

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Protesters at Kansas University on Friday urged a boycott of U.S. companies, such as Pepsico Inc., which do business in Burma.

Loudly chanting "Boycott Pizza Hut!" about 50 Kansas University students held a lunchtime demonstration Friday at the Pizza Hut at the Kansas Union.

The "friendly takeover" of the Pizza Hut was the high point of a 45-minute demonstration to raise awareness that Pepsico Inc., which owns Pizza Hut, is supporting the military regime in Burma, now known as Myanmar, by doing business in the southern Asian country.

"Hey, hey! Ho ho! Pepsico has got to go!" the students chanted as they walked into the corridor in front of the Pizza Hut on the Kansas Union's third floor cafeteria area.

Terry Huerter, one of the protest organizers, spoke loudly to those who were eating, urging them to boycott Pepsico companies and products because of human rights violations in Burma.

The protesters, who were careful not to obstruct business as a KU police officer watched, chanted and waved signs for about five minutes during the lunch hour in the crowded cafeteria area before moving on.

After demonstrators returned to the front of the union, Huerter said the next step was to investigate whether Kansas University or the KU Endowment Association has any investments in Burma and, if so, to urge them to divest.

The demonstration was sponsored by students involved in KU Environs, Feminist Collective Force, Rainforest Action Organization and the Student Environmental Action Coalition.

"We're not going to stand for the human rights abuses that are happening in Burma," Huerter said at the beginning of the demonstration, which started at Wescoe Hall.

He got cheers from the students as he slowly poured out a can of Pepsi, starting the march to the union.

Protester Shawntel Stapleton, a Shawnee sophomore, said, "If we think globally and act locally, we can make a difference."

Joshua Finley, a Wichita junior who is president of the Rainforest Awareness Organization, said a lot of companies have already pulled out of Burma. They include Levi-Strauss, Amoco, Liz Claiborne, Eddie Bauer and Macy's, the protesters said.

"We hope that Pizza Hut and Pepsi will smell the coffee and learn this is wrong," Finley said.

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