Nov 13 2003

GM crops: Bayer UK target of noisy protest

Protesters from all over England headed for Newbury last Thursday to hold a big noise demo outside Bayer's headquarters. More than 100 opponents of GM crops took part in the all day protest. Supporters brought "whistles, airhorns, megaphones and anything to make some noise and let Bayer know we don't want GM!"

The campaigners were coming from Leeds, Brighton, Manchester, Totnes and London. They say that Bayer Crop-science is pushing for the commercialisation of Genetically Modified (GM) crops in the UK. Bayer owns over 90% of the GM crop varieties seeking approval here. They say if Bayer gets its way this country will be flooded with GM crops, all of which will end up irreversibly released into the environment and contaminating our food.

Bayer spokesman Steve Painter said the company had been aware of the planned protest for a few weeks and had consulted the local authorities about it. "We have taken precautionary measures and have our plans and procedures to minimise any disruption. "We anticipate it will be peaceful and lawful and so long as it is they should be allowed to proceed.We want to carry on business as far as possible." The protest in Newbury is symbolic against Bayer because no crop science work is done here.

The demonstration is part of a larger national campaign to put pressure on Bayer, to try to force it to withdraw its plans to profit from the commercial growing of GM crops in this country.
Last Wednesday activists entered the Bayer Crop Science chemicals facility in Widnes, Cheshire. It also has facilities at Norwich, and in North Yorkshire. Bayer Cropscience was formed in 2002 when Bayer AG, the German-based pharmaceutical and chemical company, aquired Aventis Cropscience. Aventis Crop-science was a combination of Hoechst and Schering(AgrEvo) and Rhone-Poulenc. Although Bayer Cropscience is a new company, it's previous incarnations have been heavily involved in the genetic engineering of food in additon to conventional agrochemical business. (source: Indymedia)

Bayer Noise Demo - Report
Around 100 anti-bayer campaigners gathered outside Bayer HQ in Newbury and made a horrible bloody racket.

Armed with pots and pans, drums, a couple of sounds systems and other noise making objects we made a horrible bloody noise for around 3 and a half hours. This was before a small group of the protesters tried to make their way around to the other side of the building, where the staff were leaving for lunch. The police quickly formed a line and gradually kettled around 50 of us in to a pen. This was not done without resistance - most people were pushed and several thrown into the pen. Several managed to escape over a fence - and after either hiding in the garden for half an hour, or asking an old lady if she minded, they left through her house.

The rest of us were informed that under Section 14 we were only allowed to protest in this area - the pen - much more noise was made -(which was only about 30 yards from where we were originally protesting) until a solicitor confirmed what we already knew - that they only could hold us if we continued to demonstrate. So we all left and went down the pub.