Info Collected by GMWatch
Protesters have destroyed a controversial GM field trial in Belgium.
In Wetteren, a municipality in the Belgian province of East Flanders, activists succeeded in damaging the GM potatoes being trialled for blight resistance, despite a large contingent of police officers who had been ordered to guard the GM trial. The officers were unable to stop the 300-400 or more peaceful protesters of all ages, who included local people.
During the protest organised by the Belgian Field Liberation Movement (FLM) – an informal collective consisting of farmers, scientists, consumers, and environmental activists, protesters climbed over a high fence and pulled up GM potato plants. The trial was also allegedly sprayed with herbicide. Some 40 people were arrested.
The non-violent direct action had been announced in advance with the FLM saying they planned to remove the GM potatoes and replant the field with non-GM blight resistant potatoes in a peaceful and public manner.
A sympathetic farmer was quoted as saying, “They [the GM lobby] talk a lot about farmers, but we are never heard. This type of action strengthens us and seems like the only way forward for consumers and small producers who are independent of powerful interest groups like big agribusiness. “
Press contact in Belgium: 0486/220161 or field.liberation @ gmail.com
Information taken from:
2.Belgium: NO GM crops on our fields!
A Seed Europe, 17 May 2011
The Belgian Field Liberation Movement has announced a public rally against genetically engineered potatoes in the village of Wetteren on May 29. At 11am the rally starts including debate, a press conference, lots of info, a local farmers’ market, a seed swap, organic chip frying, live music and a cultural programme. Some daring activists want to make an attempt to actually replace the GM crop with organic potatoes.
Ten years of engineering and heaps of money went into developing the so-called ‘DURPH-potato’ which is designed to be resistant to Phytophtora, a potato disease. Although most consumers do not want to eat GM food this GM potato is intended for human consumption. Without applying the precautionary principle, field tests in the open air now take place in Wetteren, although risks for people and the environment are unknown and unpredictable. Opponents claim we don’t need GM crops, “what we need is sustainable agriculture that contributes to food sovereignty and – safety, to biodiversity and a stable climate”.
Let’s come together and show that the resistance against GM agriculture is growing, let’s increase the pressure on the companies and universities. It will be an inspiring day that offers plenty of opportunity for future plans and cooperation. In the afternoon the publicly announced field liberation will start with a mass occupation of the field, replacing the GM crop with organic potatoes. Participants can choose from a variety of roles and tasks requiring different levels of public disobedience.
Come and make the resistance against GMO’s visible – stand your ground for diversity and agriculture with a future. VIVA PATATA!
More details and info: