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Wednesday 24 July 2002
Immediate release

Press release

Barrow-loads of GM crops delivered to Government in London

At 1.45 p.m. today, Wednesday 24 July 2002, over 150 people, including families with children, held a colourful and peaceful demonstration at the Governments Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) in Smiths Square, London. They left large bags of GM crops from trial sites around Britain at the entrance. They were calling for no commercial growing of GM crops and an end to GM crop trials [1]. People left at about 2.40 p.m.

Bags of GM crops, carried by hand and in wheelbarrows or shopping trolleys blocked the entrance to the building[2]. There were many banners, flags and placards. Children wore bumblebee costumes and bag pipers played in a carnival spirit. Banners read "No to GM crop commercialisation", "We want to be GM free", "Essex rejects", "North Essex says no to GM crops", etc. Communities in Scarborough delivered 500 sticks of rock with their message "Scarborough Rock Solid Against GM". People were present from all over England, Scotland and Wales. Those from Scotland had started travelling on Monday 22 July. Director of Communications at DEFRA, Lucian Hudson, accepted the demonstrators letters and petitions at the buildings entrance.

Matthew Herbert one of the demonstrators and an Oxford resident said,

'For five years nonviolent direct activists have been holding back the tide of GM crops, and defending the environment and our democracy against corporate greed. Now the Government needs to make a choice. Are they going to bow to the corporate agenda and commercialise GM crops? Or are they going to listen to the people and abandon GM in favour of truly sustainable alternatives?'


CONTACT: See Editors Note [3]

Editors Notes

[1] The Government is to start a public consultation on whether GM crops should be grown commercially in Britain in the autumn or sooner. Currently GM crops are only grown in farm scale trials designed to assess the impact of GM crops on wildlife. The trials end summer 2003.

[2] Bags of GM oil seed rape, maize and sugar beet were left at DEFRA from farm scale trials in Cheshire, Shropshire, Dorset, Warwickshire, Oxfordshire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, North Yorkshire, Fife and Hertfordshire.

[3] Spokespersons for local campaigns attending the DEFRA visit include Donny McLeod from Munlochy, Scotland ; Kate O'Connell from Lincolnshire ; Gerald Miles from Pembrokeshire, Wales ; Rowan Tilly from Brighton, Sussex ; Kathryn Tulip from Oxford .


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