Nieuws - 16 mei 2013

Demonstration against Monsanto (and Wageningen UR)

Protesters want to draw attention to the 'abuse of power' by the seed giant.
Fourteen hundred people have already said on Facebook that they will be taking part.

On 25 May, there is going to be a demonstration in Wageningen against the chemicals and seed giant Monsanto and against Wageningen UR. The organizers of the protest include the Independent Critical Student Group from Wageningen. A counter for the participants on Facebook has now reached 1400 and it is still climbing. Throughout the world, some 250 'Marches against Monsanto' will be held.
The protesters say that the marches have been triggered by a colourful array of alleged wrongdoing at Monsanto. The common themes are the supposed abuse of power and harmful policies operated by the multinational. The Critical Student Group also states that academic research - including at Wageningen - has become too closely intertwined with commercial interests. 'We don't feel we're being called to account,' responded Simon Vink, the spokesman for the Executive Board. The university has not been asked for a substantive response, according to Vink, and so it will not respond spontaneously to 'anyone who says something on Facebook.'
Originally, the protest march route was going to go through the campus. 'We discussed it with the university,' said Sacha Steinmetz, spokesperson for the Critical Student Group, 'but the idea wasn't well received, because there are some buildings with expensive research equipment.' The board did however agree to the march starting at the former head office on Duivendaal. It will go from there to Seminis, a seed company that has been taken over by Monsanto. In the meantime there will be speeches and flowers will be laid 'in remembrance of all the farmers who have escaped from Monsanto's unfairly restrictive contracts by taking their own lives.'
The town council's response is that they are happy to let the demonstration go ahead.  'Appropriate measures' have been taken to ensure it passes off peacefully. The organizers want that as well: 'We want to see what we can do to make it go peacefully,' says Steinmetz, 'so that a few individuals won't ruin it for the whole group.'