People enjoyed a GM free picnic whilst listening to a range of speakers opposing the trial, including Graciela Romero, International Programmes Director of UK development charity War on Want. Lawrence Woodward, previously Director of Elm Farm Organic Research Centre, former head of standards at the Soil Association, and now involved in Citizens concerned about GM. Plus several British farmers including Peter Lundgren, a conventional wheat farmer from Lincolnshire.
Gathuru Mburu, co-ordinator of the African Biodiversity Network, spoke on the global fight for control of our food supply.
Mburu explained that:
“Experimenting with staple crops is a serious threat to food security. Our resilience comes from diversity, not the monocultures of GM. Beneath the rhetoric that GM is the key to feeding a hungry world, there is a very different story – a story of control and profit. The fact is that we need a diversity of genetic traits in food crops in order to survive worsening climates. Above all, people need to have control over their seeds”
This statement is released amongst growing calls for the scientists to demonstrate sensitivity to public concern by harvesting the crop before pollination, removing any risk of contamination with non-GM plants.
Two people were arrested for trespassory assembly and others were searched and escorted on their way to the park, or searched on their way out. Footpaths had been closed by order, huge numbers of cops and security were in place, a camera on a cherry-picker close to the open-air experiment, and a special Section 14a Trespassory Assembly applied to a large area. The people arrested were in a small group, though this is only an offence for groups of 20 or more people and they may well not have known 14a was in force.