In Wetteren, a municipality in the Belgian province of East Flanders, activists succeeded in damaging the GM potatoes being trialled for blight resistance, despite a large contingent of police officers who had been ordered to guard the GM trial. The officers were unable to stop the 300-400 or more peaceful protesters of all ages, who included local people.
During the protest organized by the Belgian Field Liberation Movement (FLM) – an informal collective consisting of farmers, scientists, consumers, and environmental activists, protesters climbed over a high fence and pulled up GM potato plants. The trial was also allegedly sprayed with herbicide. Some 40 people were arrested.
The non-violent direct action had been announced in advance with the FLM saying they planned to remove the GM potatoes and replant the field with non-GM blight resistant potatoes in a peaceful and public manner.
A sympathetic farmer was quoted as saying, “They [the GM lobby] talk a lot about farmers, but we are never heard. This type of action strengthens us and seems like the only way forward for consumers and small producers who are independent of powerful interest groups like big agribusiness.”