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Saturday, 4 May, 2002, 16:33 GMT 17:33 UK
SNP leader's GM visit
Police arrest GM protesters
Groups of protesters have been arrested at the site
Scottish National Party leader John Swinney has visited the site of a GM crop trial near Inverness which is being targeted continually by protesters.

He urged the Scottish Executive to abandon the oilseed rape experiment at Munlochy on the Black Isle and destroy the plants.

Five people appeared at Dingwall Sheriff Court on Friday charged with vandalism after being arrested at the site.

They denied the charges and are due to go on trial in July.

John Swinney
John Swinney opposes GM trials

Mr Swinney intended his visit to the site to put pressure on the Environment Minister Ross Finnie.

Mr Finnie's own Liberal Democrat party believes the crops could be dangerous to local people.

But the minister has already dismissed the idea of destroying the crops.

He believes such a move would be illegal under European law.

Lib Dems' line

At his party's conference last month, Lib Dem delegates voted two-to-one against the trial continuing.

Following the latest arrests, Dr Eleanor Scott, of the Scottish Green Party, said many people had devoted a large part of the past year to keeping the Highlands GM-free.

If the executive continued to ignore them, she said, more direct action was inevitable.

Five demonstrators appeared in the same court on Monday and admitted destroying oilseed rape GM crops at the farm.

The attack on the oilseed rape at a farm near Inverness on 26 April was the second such incident in less than a week.

See also:

03 May 02 | Scotland
Five deny GM crops attack
19 Apr 02 | Scotland
Finnie suffers GM crop defeat
17 Apr 02 | Scotland
MSPs want GM trial halted
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