1.Protesters destroy French GM crop
2.Activists rip up GM crops
------1.Protesters destroy French GM crop
BBC News, 25 July 2004
[image caption: The Mayor of Begles, Noel Mamere, joined the protest near Toulouse]
Hundreds of protesters have destroyed a field of genetically modified maize in south-west France. The demonstrators ripped up the transgenic crop plantation at Menville, near Toulouse.
The activists were led by radical French farmer Jose Bove, who said the protest was being taken in the interests of consumers.
About 15 policemen watched the destruction and took photographs of those involved, but did not intervene.
"We observed the protest, took down the identities of some of the participants and took photos after warning the organisers that it was illegal and that the information would be forwarded to the Haute-Garrone region's prosecutor," an officer told Reuters news agency.
Mr Bove said the protesters were prepared to face the consequences.
"This protest is legitimate and we did it to protect the consumer. We will assume the legal risks."
It was the latest in a series of protests by opponents of GM crops across Europe.
In May, a French court fined three people 600 euros (GBP396) each for destroying test fields of GM crops in 1997.
There have been about a dozen prosecutions of anti-GM activists in France over the past seven years.
Also in May, the European Commission lifted a six-year moratorium on GM foods, permitting companies to sell maize known as Bt-11, packaged as tinned sweetcorn.
Critics say GM plants and foods have not been properly tested and it is too soon to say if they are safe.
-------2.Activists rip up GM crops
News 24, 25/07/2004- (SA)
Toulouse - Hundreds of activists opposed to genetically modified crops tore out rows of maize in south western France on Sunday and threatened similar future actions of "civil disobedience" to stop the cultivation of bio-engineered food.
The group of between 500 and 1 500 was led by Jose Bove, a noted French anti-globalisation activist who shot to prominence after helping pull down a McDonald's outlet in 1999 to protest US trade policy and junk food.
Others taking part included a number of public officials from the Green party, among them Noel Mamere, a deputy and mayor of a suburb in Bordeaux who has made headlines of his own for presiding over France's first homosexual wedding.
They gathered in a field owned by US biotech company Pioneer Hi-Bred International and ripped the maize by the roots as police who had been ordered not to intervene stood by and watched.
"This is a legitimate action, because we reject the law serving private interests," Mamere said.
"We are ready to accept the consequences of our acts," said Bove, who has already spent time in jail for destroying a stock of genetically modified seeds in 1998 and ruining genetically modified rice plants in 1999.
Originally sentenced to 10 months behind bars, he ended up serving only five weeks and was released a year ago.
"In the coming weeks, there will be other GM test fields that will be destroyed," Bove said.
France has approved 48 parcels of experimental transgenic food crops in 15 regions.
Edited by Elmarie Jack
"Hundreds of activists opposed to genetically modified crops tore out rows of maize in south western France on Sunday and threatened similar future actions of "civil disobedience" to stop the cultivation of bio-engineered food." (item 2)