Dispute in the cornfield

The planned "Field liberation" The opponents of genetic engineering only partially succeeded, but they still consider their action a success

Helicopters droning overhead. Policemen on horses and with dogs can be found at every corner. On Sunday afternoon, a state of emergency prevailed in the Strausberg districts of Hohenstein and Ruhlsdorf near Berlin. The occasion was ca. 400 demonstrators who have come to the long announced so-called field liberation. They wanted to drive out the plants of about 50 hectares of coarse corn field with genetically modified field (dance into the gene field).

But police stopped the protesters just short of the field. The mood with the demonstrators was nevertheless good, because they had succeeded in rubbing out nevertheless some gene maize plants of the field. The loot was received with cheers on the square like the arrivals. After the dispersal of the demonstration, the protesters made their way to the field in small groups and were constantly pursued by police. 70 demonstrators were briefly arrested and treated at the Strausberg police headquarters for identification purposes A 62-year-old demonstrator was bitten on the arm by a police dog and will have to be hospitalized in Strausberg for a few days. Nevertheless, the organizers call their action a first success.

"There is no ‘yes’ to genetic engineering. Either the genetically modified plants spread uncontrolled and destroy the organic and conventional agriculture. Or we ban all gene plants from our fields. An in-between is impossible. Coexistence is a myth", says Michael Grolm. "Laws change, laws of nature do not: Bees do not respect field boundaries", so the credo of the beekeeper from Tubingen and co-organizer of the campaign "Field liberation".

Already on Saturday evening Grolm has represented this uncompromising fundamentalocological position on a panel discussion in Strausberg-Ruhlsdorf. There is no coexistence with genetic engineering, he affirmed. In contrast, Jorg Piprek defended his position just as confidently. The farmer has cultivated the genetic corn of the US concern Monsanto. His field was to be destroyed. Among his opponents Piprek diagnosed a "backward-looking peasant romanticism". For him, modern technology has facilitated the everyday life of the farming population. Consumers also demanded the products.

Despite the dissent, Piprek received applause for his willingness to participate in the discussion. Strausberg Mayor Hans-Peter Thierfeld was also praised for his willingness to participate in the discussion. In his short speech he warned against the destruction of the plants and declared that he and the Brandenburgers would not allow violence and breaking the law.

Two scientists also exchanged blows on the podium. While Professor Grunewald, emeritus, vehemently warned against genetic engineering, Professor Leuthold called it a "soft option to the future" described. The discussion will continue in the future, as will the protests against genetically modified grains, which have so far received more regional attention . With the action in Strausberg, it was noticed nationwide for the first time.

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