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12 Years Ago: Chrissie Hynde Arrested in Paris

Chrissie Hynde
Pascal le Segretain, Getty Images

A person’s principles aren’t worth much unless they’re willing to fight for them, and on July 16, 2003, Pretenders founder Chrissie Hynde demonstrated her outspoken commitment to animal rights.

Hynde and her fellow activists — roughly a dozen protesters in all — congregated outside a Paris KFC, shutting down traffic by blocking the street and smearing the windows of the restaurant with red paint, which they said symbolized the blood of dead chickens.

Hynde, who was scheduled to perform at a festival in France several days after the protest, told reporters assembled at the scene that “the protest won’t end here. Even if I shout for two hours, I can assure you I’ll still have a voice for the concert.”

While the singer and her cohorts were certainly disruptive — and found themselves hauled off to a local jail as a result — the protest was ultimately far more orderly than it could have been. As she later told the Associated Press, “In France, it’s a very healthy protest scene and very common for people to take to the streets to air their grievances. We went to a police station, we filled out a form, we’ll pay a fine. That’s it.”

Hynde, who remains a passionate supporter of animal-rights initiatives, opened a vegan restaurant, the VegiTerranean, in 2007. Despite strong reviews, it closed in 2011.

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