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Last Updated:  Monday, 31 March, 2003, 10:45 GMT 11:45 UK
GM trial attracts protest
Protesters among GM crops
Protesters in a field of GM crops in Sealand
The trial of two protesters charged with damaging genetically modified crops in north Wales has been met by protests outside the court where it is taking place.

Up to 20 people gathered at the steps of Mold Crown Court to show their support for Yvonne Davies, from Carmarthen, and Rowan Tilly, from Brighton, both 45.

The duo are accused of harming crops in GM trials at a field in Sealand in Flintshire during a demonstration in July 2001.

The defendants called the trial "a great opportunity" to put GM crops on trial.

The demonstrators at the court represented groups ranging from Friends of the Earth and the Green Party to GM protest groups from as far afield as Hereford and Carmarthen.

Banners with anti-GM slogans were displayed by the participants.

Public interest

The defence is expected to call a number of expert witnesses, including two genetic scientists from the organisation Genewatch.

Wales MEP Jill Evans and environmental journalist George Monbiot will also be called.

Lawyers are expected to argue that the actions of the women were in the public interest.

About 30 people took part in uprooting GM maize crops at the trial site in 2001, despite a police presence and security guards.

Six were arrested, but charges were later dropped against all except Ms Davies and Ms Tilly.

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