Madison Students Protest Sale of Pizza Hut at School

By David Levine

Students from West High School in Madison recently protested the sale of Pizza Hut pizza in the school cafeteria, in an act of international solidarity.

About 20 West students participated in the Jan. 30 demonstration. They were protesting Pizza Hut because it is owned by Pepsico, which provides economic support to the military dictatorship which controls Myanmar (formerly Burma). The company has refused to curtail its investments in Myanmar, even though its government commits flagrant human rights abuses, including the use of forced labor to harvest farm products. The demonstrators carried signs declaring “Oppression is Not a Corporate Right” and “Stop Business with Murderers,” and  issued a press release which supported a U.S. Senate bill to impose economic sanctions against the Burmese regime.

There are signs the anti-Pepsico efforts may spread to other schools. On February 12, Zar Ni, a Burmese graduate student active with the UW-based Socially Responsible Investment Coalition, spoke about the boycott to 200 secondary students at the Dane County Youth Forum. “After my talk, students from Verona, Monona Grove, Shabazz and Madison East high schools wanted to get involved,” Ni said. “I think plenty of young people are genuinely moved when they learn about our struggle to win democracy and basic freedoms.”