German consumers launch boycott backlash against US
BERLIN - German consumers are organising a boycott of leading American brands including Coca-Cola, McDonald's and Nike in protest against the war in Iraq.
The boycott is not yet being coordinated by one central pressure group, but various websites have sprung up declaiming the US and its action in Iraq. Reports also say that in some bars and restaurants, waiters are telling patrons that "Coca-Cola is not available any more due to the current political situation".
Coca-Cola has responded by claiming that its business in Germany is essentially German, and that consumers joining the boycott are actually boycotting German products.
One site, Consumers-against-war.de says that it is organised by "a group of young Europeans who are fed up with watching an uneducated cowboy with his narrow-minded advisers and some European governments ruin our future".
It lists a vast range of American companies, including Gillette, Budweiser, Microsoft and General Motors. The site has been running since February and, at the beginning of this week, was receiving fewer than 150 hits a day. By Wednesday, traffic had reached almost 20,000 hits a day.
Another site, Bitchkitsch also protests against the war in Iraq with a vast list of American products from Mars Bars to Kellogg's Corn Flakes.
It refers users to two American websites, Germanystinks.com and Francestinks.com, which object to the French and German stance on the war. The sites include areas where visitors can vote for an alternative to the expression "French kiss" and to choose a more American word for "hamburger", which it declares to be "Germanic sounding".
Products it declares out of bounds include Perrier-Jouet champagne; a host of Hachette Filipacchi magazines; Birkenstock shoes, and even the Mini Cooper, because it is owned by BMW.
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