Vegan protesters who stormed a New Zealand supermarket to demonstrate against meat consumption have promised that “this is only the beginning”.
The activists from Direct Action Everywhere coordinated the protest with “supermarket disruptions” being held around the world.
In footage that was uploaded online by the group, the protesters were shown standing in the meat aisle of a Countdown supermarket in Auckland, in New Zealand’s North Island, on Sunday.
They held signs reading, "It's not food, it's violence" and "Stop eating animals".
“We’re all here today to raise awareness for the animals whose bodies are cut up and put in the supermarket,” one group member, Deno Stock, tells the camera.
“There’s no need for us to eat meat or animals whatsoever.”
Another member of group, Anna Rippon, is seen telling a supermarket employee, “we’re here in peaceful protest for the victims who don’t get seen or heard behind closed doors,” as she gestures towards the shelves of meat.
A number of angry customers confront the vegans in the video. One unidentified man tells them, “Get out of my face, get out of my face. I’m disgusted you guys are even here in my supermarket”.
Another shopper says, “Get the camera off me. I’m doing my f***ing shopping,” before grabbing some of the flyers out of one of the vegan’s hands, “I’m doing my shopping lady, unless you’re going to pay for my shopping, you can f*** off.”
The group then chants, “It’s not food, it’s violence” and “there’s no excuse for animal abuse” as they are escorted out of the store by a security guard.
Another member of the group, Delta Wolfepine, uploaded the footage online and shared it to Facebook with the caption: “This is just the beginning.”
The activist also told Stuff.co.nz the aim the of the protest was to try and make people see the "packaged flesh" in the supermarket and make a connection with the animal it had been and what its body went through in order to “become dinner”.
Mr Wolfepine claimed that while most shoppers had been “mildly curious” some had become angry and physically aggressive towards the group.
"[A] woman violently knocked a cellphone from someone's hand onto the floor, she swore loudly and even tried to pull down someone's skirt," he told Stuff.
A spokesperson from the supermarket chain Countdown –– the New Zealand equivalent of Woolworths –– told the news site the protesters had been asked to leave "several times" before police were called. Shortly afterwards, the group exited the store.
"As a supermarket we work hard to provide our vegan and vegetarian customers with good quality and affordable options in our stores, and we are also deeply committed to good animal welfare practices throughout our supply chain," the supermarket said.
After leaving the Countdown store, the activists continued their demonstration through the Westfield shopping centre which the supermarket was situated inside.
The group were filmed chanting and brandishing their signs as they walked past a food court McDonald’s before taking up a spot on the centre’s balcony where they continued to demonstrate.
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