Police Use Tear Gas and Batons to Stop Pro-Biotech Crop Protesters

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The Independent reports:

Growing tensions in France between opponents and supporters of genetically modified crops have led to violent confrontations.

Gendarmes used tear gas and batons to prevent pro-GM farmers from invading a picnic for militant opponents of genetically modified maize at the town of Verdun-sur-Garonne in south-west France over the weekend.

Hardly a day has gone by this summer without opponents of GM maize—both environmental campaigners and small farmers—invading fields and trampling or cutting down crops. The protesters, led by the small- farmers' leader, José Bové, claim a citizens' right to destroy crops which, they say, threaten ecological calamity and the subjection of farmers to the whims of agro-industrial, multinational companies.

There appears to be something of a double standard in French law enforcement here. Anti-biotech activists regularly destroy crops on private land and rarely get more than a slap on the wrist from authorities in Europe. (With the notable exception of activist Jose Bove who has served time in jail for his destructive activities.)

Whole Independent article about this sorry incident here.

Thanks to Alex Avery for the heads up.

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  1. …claim a citizens’ right to destroy crops…

    So are rights granted to the individual or taken to be self-evident truths?

  2. Two words for the GM farmers: booby traps.

  3. On a somewhat related note, videos about questionable police activities at a protest just to our north have been among the most watched on YT, yet what they were protesting and the police activities haven’t merited a mention here:

    youtube.com/watch?v=gAfzUOx53Rg
    youtube.com/watch?v=St1-WTc1kow
    youtube.com/watch?v=BWbgnyUCC7M

    Pourquoi pas, mes amis?

  4. Does the French edition of Reason complain that the government takes taxes from the people at tear gas and batonpoint?

  5. TLB –

    That’s pretty disgusting behaviour from those police personnel. Pretty sick stuff.

  6. Does the French edition of Reason complain that the government takes taxes from the people at tear gas and batonpoint?

    And now it’s time for the latest episode of…

    Dan T’s Non Sequitur Of The Day!

  7. …followed by a must-not see episode of….

    TLB’s Racist Rant Of The Day!

  8. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Scare

    This Wiki entry stinks of cover-your-ass deletion.

  9. I love that the Independent describes the destruction of crops as a “picnic.”

  10. The farmer who had his crops damaged. They say he’s very smart. Outstanding in his field.

  11. Tempers have risen to boiling point since the suicide earlier this month of a farmer in the Lot d?partement who had agreed to plant a small section of GM maize. He took his life a few days after he had been warned that anti-GM protesters planned to hold a picnic on his fields.

    I dunno here. As big douchebags as I think the anti-biotech protesters are I’d have to say I’m not convinced of a connection between the two events.

    That said, it realy does appear that the French are a lot more violent than we have been led to believe.

    Gendarmes arrived too late to chase the gunmen, but could still have saved 25,000 litres of Spanish wine. Instead they watched impassively from their blue van as the foamy red liquid splashed past.

    “You have to weigh it up,” a gendarme said. “We have opened an investigation into the shooting, of course. But as for the wine, we have to think of public order first. These vintners are furious. They still have almost half of their wine from last year’s harvest in their cellars, so when a local wine merchant buys a truck-load of Spanish wine and not theirs, they need to let off steam. I cannot oppose social action.”

    As much trouble as I have respecting American cops with their overboard SWAT-team and Drug War mentality I hardly think any cop here would dismiss this kind of attack as “let[ting] off steam” and “social action”.

  12. I love that the Independent describes the destruction of crops as a “picnic.”

    It appears to be the same kind of “picnic” as this. (From the “regularly destroy crops” lik above).

    An estimated 250 people from across Scotland converged on Wester Friarton Farm in an event billed as a “Tea in the Field” protest, involving barbecues, music, stalls and speeches.

    Yes, just a spot of tea, what?

    Of course this isn’t really violent is it? After all, they’re only destroying property. That’s not harming anyone, is it?

  13. Of course this isn’t really violent is it? After all, they’re only destroying property. That’s not harming anyone, is it?

    Why do people have property, anyway. I mean, like we’re all, like, creatures of the Earth mother, man…

  14. Ah, Taktix?, I see your sarcasmometer is properly callibrated. 🙂

  15. Is anyone here familiar with Arpad Pusztai’s GM potato experiments? I’ve read some debunkings of them, but then I’ve also read claims by Pusztai that his results were heavily filtered before being submitted for said debunkings. His study (or a version thereof) is available here:

    http://www.mindfully.org/GE/Pusztai-Potatoes-Rat-Lancet.htm

  16. “If Bov? keeps on cutting down our crops, we’re going to shave his moustache,” said one protester.

    DOOOOOOONDEEEEEEEEEROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

  17. The Royal Society’s report on the defects of Pusztai’s research is here.

    See also this report in the Independent on the controversy.

    Pusztai is only a martyr to badly done sensationalistic research.

  18. Is it me, or are the forces of mindless atavism gaining ground lately?

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