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Protest & Arrests at Syngenta Biotech Lab in NC

Protest & Arrests at Syngenta Biotech Lab in NC

Protest & Arrests at Syngenta Biotech Lab in Greensboro, North Carolina
From: DownSouth RAGE <southrage@yahoo.com>
Subject: Southeast RAGE visits Syngenta, 3 arrests
Date: Mon, 14 May 2001

May 14, 2001

LOCAL & REGIONAL ACTIVIST GROUPS EXPOSE
LIES OF BIOTECHNOLOGY INDUSTRY

At 7:00 a.m. on Monday May 14th, Triangle-based
Uwharrie Earth First! and Southeast RAGE (Resistance
Against Genetic Engineering) joined together to take
direct action against the agricultural biotechnology
industry. The targeted company, Syngenta, is one of a
handful of multinational ag biotech firms hiding their
profit driven motives behind an environmental and
humanitarian image. Over 50 people from the Southeast
descended upon this global corporation with local
operations, to quarantine the biohazardous products
they are unleashing on society and the natural world.
Dressed in white biohazard suits, EF! and RAGE
activists exposed Syngenta and the other "Gene Giants"
(Aventis, Dupont, Dow and Monsanto) as a threat to the
integrity of local and sustainable food production - a
basic and essential human need.

Photo and video footage will be available later in the
day, on the Atlanta Independent Media Center webpage:
http://atlanta.indymedia.org/

Located alongside I-40 west of Greensboro, North Carolina
the action took place in full view of passing motorists slowed
down by morning traffic. Fifty biohazard "technicians"
quarantined a cardboard "garden" of genetically altered mutant
corn, which was then removed by a giant puppet, Father Earth.
The activists broadcast organic seed in the corns' place to
symbolize re-taking control of our food supply, a right that the
biotechnology industry has stripped from people all
over the globe.

After 30 minutes the Greensboro police swarmed the
lawn and aggressively attacked the activists. Pepper
spray was used on eight participants as they planted
seeds of corn, beans, and wildflowers, and three
people were arrested for vandalism and resisting
arrest. The police then blocked westbound traffic
completely, preventing passers-by from learning
exactly what Syngenta is responsible for-- the
biopollution of our natural world, the destruction of
alternative food systems, and the secret flooding of
our food supply with dangerous products.

Police censored our message from the people we feel
need most to hear it-- Americans who receive their
information from a media that omits the resistance
happening in third world countries against genetic
engineering. Farmers are risking their lives burning
and destroying gene-altered crops, fighting this
technology imposed upon them by multinational
corporations.

After the arrests, police donned riot helmets and
batons, in an attempt to intimidate protestors with
threats of violence. Activists stayed on the lawn
for15 more minutes and then marched off and left the
area, only to be followed and harassed by the
Greensboro police for the remainder of the morning.

Activists gathered later in the day for an impromptu
rally at the Guilford County Jail. Upon the release of
those arrested at Syngenta, they marched through
downtown Greensboro in biohazard suits passing out
flyers. This is only the first in a campaign RAGE and
EF! hope to build against ag biotech in the belly of
the beast!

Uwharrie Earth First! can be contacted at:
bison12@hotmail.com
Southeast RAGE can be contacted at:
southrage@yahoo.com
Also check out: http://www.tao.ca/~ban

(below is the text of a flyer that was distributed to
the company and employees)

May 2001

An open letter to the agricultural biotechnology
industry:

We are here today to expose your lies and to tell you
that the people of the U.S. are learning the truth
about biotechnology and will soon join the many other
countries around the world in resisting your
manipulation of life.

Your claim that biotechnology will 'feed the world' is
transparent emotional blackmail. Multinational
corporations exist for one reason, and that is for
profit. If starving people in the global south were
of such concern to you, why have you only addressed
this issue when it became possible that profit could
be made off of third world countries' dependence on
your seeds? And why are the people of those countries
uprooting and burning biotech fields?

You state that genetically engineered crops will
improve the environment because they will dramatically
decrease the use of chemical pesticides. This is
false. As the EPA has documented, plants genetically
altered to express a pesticide throughout the entire
plant will create pest resistance to the chemical in
several years. Farmers will be forced to spray on a
new one; one we are sure you will have designed just
for that dilemma. Syngenta's genetic trait control
system, (a.k.a. 'traitor technology'), requires the
use of a chemical (one you profit from) to trigger the
plant's immune system. How convenient for Syngenta
considering it is the largest agro-chemical company in
the world!

Biotechnology has been proven to contaminate
non-genetically modified crops, and has put
alternative food systems at risk. Organic farming is
threatened by genetic drift from your products, and
also by attorneys-- Monsanto had the audacity to sue a
farmer over when their patented genetic code was found
to have cross-pollinated with his non-GMO crops.

Genetic modification was unleashed covertly upon the
world and remains secret through your refusal to label
your product. If genetically engineered foods are so
beneficial, why won't you label them? Consumers are
aware of fat content, sodium, cholesterol, and calorie
amount in food. Why shouldn't Jane Shopper know that
a gene from a Brazil nut is in her soybeans, when she
is severely allergic to Brazil nuts? Why shouldn't
Joe Shopper know that there is a fish gene in his
tomato, when he is a vegetarian and chooses not to
have animal products in his diet? You are making
serious health and ethical decisions for each consumer
when you have no right to do so.

You are experimenting on people and the natural world,
all in the name of improving life, when life was just
fine without your technology. Millions of years of
evolution created all life as we know it, and your
'Brave New World' is capable of erasing entire
species. You have no control over it. How can you
'recall' a living organism that interacts with other
organisms and its environment, mutating and adapting
as conditions change?

These are not Firestone tires. This is life, and we
demand that you re-examine what playing god can
potentially do to the planet's interconnected web of
life. We will not rest until you and your politician
and government agency co-conspirators back off and let
the people decide how we will feed and heal ourselves.

Long live the seed,

Uwharrie Earth First!
Southeast RAGE (Resistance Against Genetic
Engineering)

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