Fri Apr 25 '03

Bayer CropScience Blockade

Starting at about 7:30 am today 17 anti-GM activists successfully blockaded Bayer CropScience's UK HQ near Cambridge. 5 people locked on using heavy weight metal arm tubes blocking vehical access to the site. Another activist locked on to the underside of a lorry entering the site. Other people managed to climb on the roof of the building and hung banners. Police eventually managed to clear the site of protesters at around 1:00pm. 8 people were arrested and are currently being held at Cambridge police station.

Why Bayer CropScience?

Bayer CropScience are the company leading the rush towards commercial growing of GM crops in the UK and Europe. In 2002 over 85% of GM crop trials grown in the UK used seed now owned by Bayer. Bayer's GM T25 is the GM crop closest to commercialisation in the UK (maybe happening as soon as April 2004). Forget Monsanto, rest in peace Aventis CropScience, Bayer CropScience are GM public enemy number one in the UK. Stopping them is key to stopping GM crops in the UK

Why today?

Today is Bayer AG's(Bayer CropScience's parent company) AGM in Cologne, Germany. The blockade was timed to coincide with an action by UK activists in Germany at the AGM. We hope to cause maximum embarassment to Bayer, and send a clear message to the company in its shareholders that if they try to commercialise GM crops there will be trouble.

Blockade started at 7:45am before workers arrived. Five people locked on to each other using arm tubes. One locked on using a D'lock under a lorry on a wiegh-bridge. Two others climbed onto porch at main enterance to the building and hung a banner. The revolving doors were locked.

First police arrived half hour later. The full specialist police team arrived a couple of hours later. The blockade held until about 1:00pm when police used phneumatic cutters to remove the d'lock. The arm tube ring was broken when somebody had to leave due to medical concerns. This enabled about 18 police officers to lift the chain of people out of the way. The protesters then waited until the police had demonstrated their technicque for cutting the steel tubes and then unlocked themselves.

There were 18 activists involved in the action. Eight were arrested - charged with Aggrevated tresspass (including the two on the roof which is clearly not going to stick). They are due to appear in court on Tuesday 29th in Cambridge.

The action took place at the same time as action at the Bayer AGM in Germany.