The trial against Belgium activists, now under heavy criminal charges for targeting a GM potato field in Belgium two years ago, has restated this week.
On 9 May 2011, 400 activists attempted to replace a GM test filed with organic potatoes, in an act of civil disobedience to rubbish the destructive GM trial and highlight the long term damage this could mean for sustainable agriculture.
11 people, of the 400, were arrested (some with and some without probation) and are now under criminal charges without any of their witnesses having been heard. This conviction poses a dangerous precedent for all forms of civil society action.
Bart Staes, Member of European Parliament for the Greens and one of the 91 voluntary defendants in the trial, told the court: “For 25 years I have been fighting for a fair food production system. We all have the right to healthy food and freedom of choice. This GM potato trial is part of industry’s efforts to push for a very specific agricultural model. “
The day before the trial, This is Rubbish showed their solidarity with activists in Berlin, who strung banners in front of the Belgian Embassy, distributing informative flyers and attempting to be hear by the embassy staff, who were alas a bit shy. “Social movements are not criminal gangs,” read one of the banners “Campaigning for Sustainable Agriculture…Is that Criminal?” read another.
“It is incredible that the opposition to this clearly inhumane industry has such draconian punishments,” Erasmus Müller, from the Berlin action on Monday.
Meanwhile, the opposition to GMOs is growing, and calls to support a sustainable food and agricultural model are getting louder. 1
On Sunday, hundreds of marches against Monsanto took place worldwide with slogans reading “No to GMOs” and ” Say No to Monsanto”. (Read more from The Guardian here.)
During the trial, the Field Liberation Movement held Round Table discussions for experts to publicly debate the issues of GM.
According to Kurt Sannen, president of the organisation Bioforum, “it is high time for politicians at Belgian and European level to support an agro-ecological and farmer-friendly agricultural system instead of the current polluting, harmful agro-industrial model. The current reform of the Common Agricultural Policy does not support this at present.”
The message is clear: we persevere in the struggle for a fair, sustainable, GMO-free agriculture. We are firm in our stance and we are growing daily.
The activists will continue their fight to be acquitted of the charge of membership of a criminal gang.
The ruling is expected on 25 June 2013.
Read more about GMO, the trial and support the Belgium Field Liberation Movement here.