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Over 100 McDonald's low pay protesters arrested for trespass at Illinois HQ before shareholders' meeting

Employees told to work from home as protesters against fast-food industry exploitation face riot police in shadow of the golden arches

Police have arrested more than 100 US fast-food protesters for refusing to stop their picket of McDonald’s Illinois headquarters.

Over 2,000 activists demonstrated on Wednesday to call attention to the low pay plight of fast food workers.

The action preceded the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting yesterday, where the firm was due to face a grilling over issues including its executive pay packages and marketing to children.

McDonald’s closed a building and told head office employees to work from home as demonstrators blocked the entrance to the company’s campus.

They were confronted by dozens of police officers in riot gear who ordered protesters to disperse.

Protest organisers said about 100 McDonald’s workers who had travelled from around the country were arrested, along with community leaders and supporters.

Among them was Service Employees International Union (SEIU) president Mary Kay Henry who said in a statement released after her arrest that she wanted McDonald’s workers to know that her union members stood with them.

The SEIU has been providing financial and organisational support to the fast-food protests, which started in late 2012 in New York City and have spread to other cities and countries.

Outside its headquarters, McDonald’s worker Jessica Davis said: “I’m worried about not being able to pay my bills.”

She supports two young children and relies on public assistance and help from her family to get by, unable to make ends meet with the roughly $9 (£5.34) an hour she earns at a Chicago restaurant.

The federal minimum wage is $7.25 (£4.30) an hour, about $15,000 (£8,894) a year for a person who works a 40-hour week.

But most fast-food workers are given far less time on the clock, in part because restaurant owners want to avoid paying overtime or benefits

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