Greenpeace activists chained themselves to chairs in McDonald's restaurants in Birmingham and across the country yesterday to protest against the chain's alleged involvement in the destruction of the Amazon rainforest.

Protesters dressed in chicken suits occupied McDonald's outlets in Birmingham and six other British cities, including London, at 7am.

The environmental pressure group said it was demonstrating against the purchase of soya from the rainforest used to feed McDonald's chickens.

Greenpeace campaigner Belinda Fletcher, who took part in the demonstration outside the McDonald's restaurant in Birmingham's Cherry Street said rainforest was being cut down to build soya farms.

"McDonald's is fuelling a trade that's trashing the Amazon," she said.

"Rainforest is being illegally cleared to make way for soya farms to feed animals in Europe."

The charity said it had investigated the soya trade and linked it to McDonald's.

"Every time you buy a Chicken McNugget you could be taking a bite out of the Amazon," Ms Fletcher said.

"McDonald's is super-sizing Amazon destruction."

A spokesman for McDonald's said the company would be investigating Greenpeace's allegations.

"We are disappointed when people turn to vandalism to express their views, he said.

"Worldwide, we take our supply chain and environ-mental responsibilities very seriously.

"We can confirm that we will be investigating the claim made by Greenpeace in full and will review it for consistency in line with our existing policy not to source beef from recently deforested areas."

Two protesters were arrested in a McDonald's in Manchester city centre, police said.

A man and a woman were arrested on suspicion of aggravated trespass at the city's Oxford Road restaurant, a Greater Manchester Police spokeswoman said.