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BBC Wales's Penny Roberts
"The campaigners want to highlight what they say is the social injustice of the GM trials"
 real 56k

Monday, 7 May, 2001, 16:06 GMT 17:06 UK
Farmers lobbied at GM trial sites
GM protesters
Protesters cycling to Mathry were joined by more driving tractors
Organic farmers and others opposed to genetically modified crops have been staging demonstrations at Wales's three trial sites.

More than 100 people - many driving tractors or riding bicycles - staged a slow drive around the two fields at the proposed site in Mathry, Pembrokeshire, west Wales, which have been ploughed ready for planting.

Former Conservative MP Tony Marlow
Tony Marlow's fields are ready for planting

Some were dressed as the 19th century Rebecca Rioters - complete with Welsh costume with blackened faces - to show their concern for what they described as a social injustice.

The land is owned by former Conservative MP Tony Marlow, who has listened to their worries, but remains determined to continue with the trials.

Protester Tom Latter said: "It was a very peaceful demonstration that showed the strength of feeling in the area."

The demonstrators are now proposing to take legal action in a bid to stop the crops being planted, and have been staging fundraising events to pay for a barrister.

'Non-democratic'

Plaid Cymru MEP Eurig Wyn has said he may raise the issue of trials in the Petitions Committee of the European Parliament.

He said: "I share the concern of many other people at the non-democratic nature of this imposition on the people of Pembrokeshire of trials to which so many people are opposed.

"Many other matters of this nature have been the subject of appeals to the committee in the past and I shall certainly make every effort to represent the people of Pembrokeshire if it is their wish to proceed."

Meanwhile, at Sealand in Flintshire, a protest meeting was held at the land where farmer John Cottle planted GM maize seed on Saturday.

Between 30 and 40 placard-waving villagers staged a peaceful protest outside Birchenfield Farm.

They had the chance to put their points to farmer John Cottle, but they failed to persuade him to change his mind.

He was standing firm on his belief that the trials were necessary and would prove harmless.

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See also:

06 May 01 | Wales
GM farmer defends seed trials
04 Apr 01 | Wales
Minister knew of GM crop trials
10 Oct 00 | Wales
Assembly GM debate postponed
26 May 00 | Wales
Farm economy contribution row
18 Oct 00 | Wales
Early test for coalition
28 Aug 00 | Wales
Wales' only GM trial damaged
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