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Protesters against new Coke file lawsuit

SEATTLE -- Old Cola Drinkers of America, complaining that a new soft drink flavor is a dud, filed a federal suit demanding Coca-Cola return to its nearly century-old flavor.

The suit filed Friday in U.S. District Court seeks a temporary restraining order against the Atlanta-based company and asks that the new formula Coke no longer be packaged like the old Coca Cola.

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The Seattle-based group cited violations of the Federal Trade Commission Act, the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act, the Washington State Consumer Protection Act and common law principles relating to fraud and misrepresentation.

Old Cola Drinkers of America was created two weeks ago by Gay Mullins of Seattle.

Group spokeswoman Shannon Conway said the response has been overwhelming to the organization's drive to force the Coca-Cola Co. to return to its original, 99-year-old recipe.

The organization has been selling $5 memberships and new converts are given bumper stickers that include the slogans 'Give us the real thing again' and 'Coke was it.'

Thousands of responses at 50 cents per call have flooded an AT&T hotline rented by Mullins to sample national sentiment on the issue, she said. She said she could not disclose how much money the group has received from call-in proceeds and membership sales because 'we haven't had time to add it all up yet.'

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Coca-Cola officials could not be reached for comment regarding the lawsuit but previously have said they didn't know any more about the group 'than we read in the newspaper.'

Mullins, 57, and co-founder Frank Olson spent Friday in Washington, D.C., promoting their effort in meetings with reporters and business owners.

Mullins planned to leave Saturday for a cross-country press tour that was to include a rally in San Francisco's Union Square.

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