Protesters trash French biotech corn field

16th August 2004, Comments 0 comments

MARSAT, France, Aug 14 (AFP) - Several hundred protesters trashed a field of genetically engineered corn Saturday, despite the presence of about 100 pro-biotech militants and almost as many police.

MARSAT, France, Aug 14 (AFP) - Several hundred protesters trashed a field of genetically engineered corn Saturday, despite the presence of about 100 pro-biotech militants and almost as many police.

After a long face-off in which the two sides traded insults and occasional blows, and gendarmes attempted to keep them apart, the protests pushed down a fence and trampled a 1.5-hectare (3.7-acre) area where the genetically modified corn was growing, yelling, "no, no no to GMO."

The protesters included Gilles Lemaire, national secretary of the Green party, and Gerard Leras, the party's regional chief.

One of the protesters was punched in the face and was seen bleeding, an AFP reporter said, and two protesters were detained by police.

About 500 people took part in the demonstration according to organisers, but police put the figure at 300.

Last month, a group of self-styled Green vigilantes led by Jose Bove, the French farmers union activist who shot to prominence after he helped demolish a partly built McDonald's fast food restaurant in 1999, vowed to destroy all genetically modified crops in France.

The government has approved tests of GM crops in 15 regions.

© AFP

Subject: French news

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