Ryan Griffis on Fri, 4 Jul 2003 18:19:48 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Biotech Conference Ends After Protests

a follow up story on the gmo protests in Sacramento, as the US/WTO
pressure on the EU grows. Have heard of recent greenpeace demos in europe
http://www.greenpeace.org/news/details?item_id=290260 does the resistance
to US GMOs lie in nation state resistance (ie the EU following consumer
demand), or will the EU eventually lean more toward the "smooth space" as
CAE suggests?

Posted on Thu, Jun. 26, 2003

Biotech Conference Ends After Protests
Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Both protesters and proponents claimed success after
an international conference on how genetically modified foods can help
alleviate poverty in the Third World.

Hundreds of demonstrators who rallied against GMOs during the three-day
gathering were prevented by a large police presence from causing major
disruptions, but leaders said they got their message through. "We were
also working in concert with organic farmers who were inside.  And there
was a strong showing out here. We were making a lot of noise," said
protester Doyle Canning, from the Institute for Social Ecology in Vermont,
as the conference closed Wednesday. U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ann
Veneman, who hosted the meeting of agriculture ministers, scientists and
health experts, said "a seed has been planted" for advancing cooperation
on biotechnology. European Union ministers were notably absent from the
talks at a time when the United States is demanding that the World Trade
Organization force the EU to end its ban on genetically modified food. The
EU's agriculture representative in Washington said EU ministers were
invited but canceled because the union is wrapping up talks on
agricultural reform. Critics of the U.S. policy of advocating
biotechnology as an answer to food shortages say Washington is merely
seeking its own economic advantage and pushing risky science on struggling
nations. "For us in the developing countries, we feel with biotechnology,
we should take our time and build the capacity to be able to understand
what we're dealing with," said Drinah Nyirenda, a nutritionist in Zambia
who works with 200,000 farmers in a food distribution program. "In the
meantime, we would like to continue with the conventional methods of
producing foods, using methods that won't harm the environment."

At least 70 demonstrators were taken into custody, but the show went on
without problems; a large force of police in riot gear patrolled
Sacramento's streets on bikes, horseback and foot. Protest organizers had
estimated that there would be 8,000 demonstrators at a march and rally on
the opening day, but only about a quarter of those materialized.

Since Monday, the activists faded, breaking into groups of 50 to 100 that
roved through downtown Sacramento followed by a far greater number of law

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