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Saturday, 9 March, 2002, 18:27 GMT
Five arrested at GM crop protest
Police and protesters in the field near Long Marston
Protesters entered the field after a march to the site
Five people have been arrested by police after crops were uprooted during a GM protest on Saturday.

Officers made the arrests after monitoring a march by the environmental campaigners in south Warwickshire.

The protest, near Long Marston, had been organised because campaigners argue safety procedures in place for GM trials are inadequate.

Jenny Sampson, of the South Warwickshire GM Action Group, said there was no violence during the event.


We were treating it as a peaceful protest, but it did go beyond that

Warwickshire police spokesman
"About 60 people entered the field, and the police remained around the edge of the field for over 30 minutes, as people started pulling up the crops.

"After that they came in from all angles and chased a lot of people off the field, before making the arrests."

Up to 300 people turned up to a meeting about the GM issue in Stratford-upon-Avon, before the smaller group marched to the field.

Some of the protesters were dressed in white suits and carried a six-foot tall bee on the march, as a symbol of what they regard as the dangers posed by GM crop trials.

Ms Sampson said: "We feel that GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) have been released into the environment, when it is not clear whether they are safe for the environment.

"We feel let down by the government on this and basically people believe that not enough safety precautions are being taken in the way these crops are being trialled."

A Warwickshire Police spokesman said that initially only a "minimal" number of officers were drafted in to monitor the protests.

"We were treating it as a peaceful protest, but it did go beyond that," he said.

See also:

21 Aug 01 | Scotland
Ministers approve GM crop trials
18 May 00 | Europe
Euro alert over GM seed
17 May 00 | UK
Alert over GM seeds
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