May 22 (Bloomberg) — McDonald's Corp. Chief Executive Officer Don Thompson, defending the fast-food chain after worker protests this week, said its restaurants pay a fair wage.

"We respect the fact that they want to challenge us relative to wages," Thompson told investors at the company's annual meeting today. "We pay fair and competitive wages and we provide opportunity, and we provide job opportunities and training for those entering the workforce."

Thompson fielded investor questions about the pay issue after protests at McDonald's headquarters in Oak Brook, Illinois, entered a second day. Yesterday demonstrators stormed through an entrance to one of the company's campuses holding signs that said, "We Are Worth More" and "My Union My Voice." The event's organizations put the number of protesters at about 2,000, while police pegged it closer to 1,000. More than 100 of the demonstrators were arrested for trespassing.

Thompson also spoke with investors about issues that have drawn criticism from environmental and animal-rights activists: sow-gestation crates and foam cups. The chain is phasing out the crates, which are seen as inhumane, from its supply chain by 2022. While the company is getting rid of foam in coffee cups, it's still working on doing the same for ice tea.

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