Saint-Andiol: GMO crop reapers back in action
La Provence [France], 12 July 2010

*They intervened at the Monsanto site yesterday at Saint-Andiol

[Translation courtesy GM-free Ireland]

[Photo caption: Order of the day from Olivier Florens, one of the leaders of yesterday's action]

The volunteer reapers of GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) got people talking yesterday. Following their national general assembly last weekend at Thor (Vaucluse), one group of reapers is said to have attacked an as-yet unknown location, while a hundred others went to Saint-Andiol (north of the Bouches-du-Rhône) to an "emblematic" site of the GM-free struggle: the De Ruiter Seeds company, which was bought up by the transnational Monsanto in 2008.

Since then, the GM-free collective 13-84 has been demanding assurances that the transnational company, which is the market leader in transgenic organisms, will not produce any at the Saint-Andiol site. "Like 80% of French citizens, we don't want GMOs in France. But despite letters, public discussions and meetings, we have never received an answer. On the contrary, the director informed us that if he received sales orders, he would honour them!", said Olivier Florens yesterday, one of the leaders of the collective which therefore proposed a "citizens' inspection."

"We don't know what is going on inside. We are thus going to have a look, but please note that we are responsible people: we won't break anything and won't enter the greenhouses." Following a vote by show of hands, the protestors climbed over the company fences. "Unfortunately we have no legal means to find out if they are producing modified crops here", said Etienne, a reaper from the Auvergne. While others, equally peaceful, roamed around between the greenhouses, in search of some "evidence" - without success.

In a jovial atmosphere, they wrote lots of slogans on transparent paper notices stuck to the doors, and inscribed "No to Monsanto" on the ground with stones collected on the site. They were all expecing a visit from the police, who finally showed up after the protestors left the site perimeter. The policemen thus only made a note of number plates, before the protest ended without incident, but with a promise [from the protesters] to come back.