Byron's bugbear: Two branches besieged by insects released by protesters

 
Francesca Washtell
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Two Byron restaurants were forced to close on Friday after insects were released (Source: Byron)

Byron Hamburgers was blighted by a biblical-style plague from protesters this weekend as cockroaches, crickets and locusts were released into two central London branches of the posh burger chain.

Protesters from London Black Revs and the Malcolm X Movement released thousands of insects into the Central St Giles and Holborn branches on Friday evening, following widespread reports the company took part in an immigration sting against 35 members of its staff.

The two restaurants, on Shaftesbury Avenue and High Holborn, closed immediately following the mass-insect release.

Read more: Byron's immigration backlash - is it fair?

In a statement on Facebook, the two activist groups said: "London Black Revs and the Malcolm X Movement have taken affirmative against the Byron restaurants chain in response to the despicable actions in the past weeks having entrapped waiters, back of house staff and chefs in collaboration with UK Boarder Agency."

They group added the actions should serve "as a warning to other businesses in the hospitality and catering industry that you will be targeted by those who stand in solidarity with immigrants if you entrap migrant workers".

Earlier in the week, Byron had inadvertently trended on Twitter with the hashtag #boycottbyron after it was claimed dozens of staff members from 15 restaurants were called to an event in London on 4 July that had, in fact, been arranged by the company in conjunction with the Home Office.

Read more: Byron serves up beefy profits in 2015

The staff, reportedly from Brazil, Egypt, Albania and Nepal, were arrested for breaching immigration rules.

However, both Byron and the Home Office have said several of the group's restaurants were visited by Home Office staff instead.

Byron said in a statement:

The safety of our customers and restaurant teams is paramount, and our priority is now to work with local police to minimise the risk of further incident.

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