Angry French mow down GM crops
TVNZ, Jul 25, 2004
A group of self-styled Green vigilantes said it planned to hold a "Mowing Day" today and deal a deathblow to tests of crops of genetically-engineered food crops in France.
Led by French farmers union activist Jose Bove, the "Mowing Brigade", as the vigilantes call themselves, said yesterday they were angry the government had approved tests of genetically modified (GM) food crops despite clear public sentiment against them.
"The Mowing Brigade believes the time has come to take matters into our own hands ... and deal a deathblow to the tests," Bove said as hundreds of members of the group arrived in this south-western French town yesterday to listen to lectures on the potential dangers of GM food.
Several hundred of the group's 2,900 members were expected to hold the "Mowing Day" on one of the fields where GM crops are being tested this morning.
Bove made it clear that "our enemies are GM crops, not the security forces", adding "there is no question of mowing the police".
France has approved tests of GM food crops covering 7.3 hectares in 48 parcels across 15 regions.
Bove shot to prominence in 1999 after he helped demolish a partially built McDonald's fast-food restaurant to protest against US trade policy.