14 arrests made after animal rights protesters target £195-a-head Michelin-star restaurant Mana
They were demanding a plant-based future.
Animal right protesters targeted Mana, one of Manchester’s most prestigious restaurants, this weekend, leading to 14 arrests.
Activists from Animal Rebellion staged the sit-in protest at Mana in Ancoats, the city’s only Michelin star restaurant, saying they targeted it for its ‘meat-heavy menu’ and the fact it doesn’t cater to vegans.
The protest saw people occupy the renowned restaurant on Saturday evening, calling for a ‘Plant based future’.
The restaurant has said that guests, who will have paid £195 per person for the set menu, had their bookings delayed by up to three hours because of the disruption.
Protesters sat down at the tables inside Mana and pulled out their own menus, which outlined a vision for a plant-based food system and the re-wilding of space used for animal agriculture.
GMP were called to reports of the disturbance on Blossom Street at around 7.20pm on Saturday 3 December, and subsequently arrested 14 individuals on suspicion of aggravated trespass.
All have been released on bail.
Superintendent Ian Jones of GMP’s City of Manchester district, said: “Though this wasn’t a large-scale protest, we understand it caused some disruption in and around the area of Blossom Street last night so would like to thank members of the public and businesses for their patience whilst we responded to the incident in the most appropriate way.
“GMP respects the right of people to protest peacefully and so will always, in the first instance, engage with organisers and demonstrators to facilitate this – as per national guidance.
“It is, however, our responsibility to prevent and investigate crime, and keep people safe. In this case, and following engagement attempts, the most appropriate course of action was to make arrests.”
Animal Rebellion wrote on Twitter: “Supporters of Animal Rebellion continue to occupy luxury restaurant Mana in Manchester to demand an end to climate chaos, inequality and animal exploitation in the form of a transition to a #PlantBasedFuture.”
The group also posted: “The restaurant serves a set menu starting at £195 per person. Whilst 2 million in the UK rely on food banks, high-end restaurants are catering to a wealthy minority.”
They then shared a video of the police entering Mana and handcuffing protesters, and said: “ARRESTS ARE BEING MADE at Mana Restaurant in Manchester, following a peaceful occupation at Mana.
“This is an emergency. We indisputably NEED to transition away from animal farming and towards a #plantbasedfuture.”
Simon Martin, Mana’s chef-patron, said in a lengthy statement that the team were ‘confused’ as to why independent Mana was targeted over a large chain.
He said: “The protest last night at Mana disrupted the operation of a small business that has already suffered economically from COVID and the ongoing energy crisis during the busiest night of the week. Guests who were celebrating birthdays and anniversaries had their meals delayed by 3 hours, and our hard-working staff had to work into the late hours of the night.
“While we tried to communicate with the protestors during the course of the evening, politely asking them to leave, they refused to speak with us.
“Whilst everyone is entitled to their opinions and beliefs, we are confused as to why the protestors chose to target a restaurant that prioritizes sustainability and animal welfare, instead of a corporate fast food chain.
“Mana has always been a highly sustainable restaurant, sourcing hyper local and sustainably produced vegetables from small businesses just like ourselves who abstain from GMOs, herbicides, and pesticides.
“Farms for livestock we use are personally visited by members of the team to ensure standards there meet our criteria for supply, and seafood is strictly captured by hand or line. The cost of a meal at Mana is reflective of these production methods, which are lower yield and higher quality.
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“It’s ironic that the protesters who are campaigning for better food supply do not realise the cost attached to the quality, leading us to believe they do not fully understand their cause.
Mana is always supportive of good causes with a history of hosting events for The Christie NHS foundation trust and Eat Well MCR, as well as making donations towards StreetSmart and Hospitality Action. A portion of each table’s bill is donated towards the homeless.”
A spokesman for Animal Rebellion clamed that Mana was targeted because ‘it refuses to cater to vegans’ and has ‘a meat-heavy menu’. Simon has responded to that claim to clarify that Mana offers a full vegetarian menu, but said: “We do not cater for lactose intolerances for logistical reasons.”
Featured image: Animal Rebellion