Z Magazine | Historic Protests Disrupt GE Trees Conference

From the July-August 2013 issue of Z Magazine:

Historic Protests Disrupt Industry Conference

By Anne Petermann, Global Justice Ecology Project Executive Director and
Orin Langelle, Global Justice Ecology Project Board Chair

Hundreds of activists from across the country converged on Asheville, North Carolina from Sunday, May 26 to Saturday, June 1 to protest the Tree Biotechnology 2013 conference, hosted by the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO). They came to raise vocal and determined opposition to genetically engineered trees (GE trees). The conference occurs every two years and brings together leading tree engineers, students, and corporate representatives to discuss the science and politics of genetically engineering trees.

The conference was disrupted or protested by activists even before it began and almost every day it took place. On May 25, more than 1,000 people joined the March Against Monsanto in Asheville, with a vocal contingent protesting GE trees. On Monday morning, two Asheville residents were arrested after invading the conference and disrupting the opening session of the day. On Tuesday, the largest protest yet against GE trees took place as hundreds of people marched through the streets and rallied outside the conference hotel. A conference field trip on Wednesday was cancelled due to the threat of protests. On Thursday, three activists were arrested while blocking a conference bus headed to an exclusive dinner at the Biltmore Estate.

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