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Tuesday, 21 November, 2000, 16:13 GMT
Soya mill protest ends
Greenpeace protestors dressed as chickens
Greenpeace 'chickens' entered the plant on Monday
Police are questioning four environmental activists who occupied a conveyor belt at the UK's only genetically modified soya mill.

The four hung a tent from the 40-metre-high belt as part of a demonstration by Greenpeace volunteers in the mill on Liverpool's Gladstone Dock.

About 60 protesters entered the mill on Monday, some dressed as chickens.

After the initial demonstration, the four remaining campaigners - three men and one woman - spent Monday night at the mill.

But the protest ended on Tuesday after they were served with an injunction by mill operator Cargill, said Greenpeace spokesman Jim Thomas.

They had intended to disrupt production by occupying the belt, used to transport soya from silos to the crushing plant.

One climber, Chris Holden, a bio-chemistry graduate from London, said it had been "a long, cold night" and the group was "disappointed" to have to leave.

Safety fears

Eight people were arrested during Monday's protest - four of whom are due to appear before magistrates in Bootle on Wednesday, charged with aggravated trespass.

The other four have been released on police bail.

The demonstrators targeted the plant as part of their ongoing anti-GM campaign.

Cargill has been operating in the UK since 1955 and employs around 5,000 people in plant and offices nationwide.

Company spokeswoman Geraldine O'Shea said: "An injunction was served out of concern for the safety of the Greenpeace demonstrators as they were obviously putting themselves at some risk.

"Production at the plant continued through the protest.

"The conveyor belt was stopped temporarily because we didn't want to risk their safety. But there was enough soya to continue production."

Cargill, which processes both GM and normal soya, maintains there is a customer demand for GM soya.

But Greenpeace campaigner Emma Gibson said: "By continuing these GM imports, Cargill is ignoring valid public concerns about the effects of feeding GM crops to animals and the environmental risks involved in growing them."

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24 May 00 | Sci/Tech
GM seed leak 'tip of iceberg'
31 Jan 00 | Sci/Tech
No reliable test for GM-free food
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