Protesters shut down Woodland Monsanto

NICKI PADAR / AGGIE

The fight against GMOs in modern agriculture

While California was waking up on the Monday morning of May 22, the Anti-Monsanto Project was already on the move. As early as 4 a.m., the Anti-Monsanto Project assembled in front of the Woodland Monsanto for a protest. While the protest began with numbers above 30, the crowd eventually thinned out as the Yolo County Sheriff’s office arrived at the scene, with only the most faithful protesters remaining.

“There were a group of protesters outside the business,” said Sergeant Matt Davis of the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office. “A number of them made the decision to sit down in front of the driveway that effectively blocked the entrance, ingoing and outgoing, from the highway onto the property.”

Davis explained the situation and his interactions with the protesters:

“They were advised to move or they would be arrested, and 10 individuals chose to remain,” Davis said. “And they were taken into custody.”

Davis then commented on the nature of the protesters:

“The individuals were cooperative,” Davis said. “There was no incident, other than they stood up, they were placed in handcuffs and walked to a nearby van. It was as simple as that.”  

Although the protesters blocked the entry and exit points for a little over an hour, Davis witnessed no further interaction between the protesters and employees of Monsanto.

“I didn’t see any interactions between any Monsanto representatives and the protesters,” Davis said. “I don’t know if there was, prior to us getting there. I didn’t see that take place, though.”

The Anti-Monsanto Project made a public statement on Facebook, claiming responsibility for the protest and commenting on the day as a whole:

“Yesterday [May 22] we gathered at our meet-up spot,” the Anti-Monsanto Project said. “Once there was a sufficient crowd, approximately 4:15 [a.m.] we gave a ten minute brief, then began shuttling people to the main gate to begin coordinating where to position people.”

The statement also mentioned the arrests:

Now, we have held shutdowns of Monsanto facilities for five years, and never before had there been arrests, until yesterday,” the Anti-Monsanto Project stated. “Within moments, the [sheriff] gave a warning that he would make arrests. Undeterred, the protectors remained seated. Then came the call of an unlawful order, and three minute warning before arrests would be made.”

The statement elaborated on the time spent in jail, after the arrests:

“While doing jail support, several others joined us as we awaited our allies’ return,” the Anti-Monsanto Project stated. “Some brought food, some brought beverages and snacks, some brought good vibes and compassion. As each individual was released, they left the jail to be greeted with cheers from those outside. After about seven hours, the last of the #Monsanto10 was released.”

Chris Horner, the testing and operations manager at the Woodland Monsanto facility, provided a statement on the event over email.

The more than 20,000 people of Monsanto are committed to having an open dialogue about modern agriculture and how food is grown as we focus on using digital tools, data and research to find solutions that balance the need to feed people and protect the planet –– we’re proud of the work we do, and we’re eager for people to know more about us,” Horner said. “Through innovation and collaboration with farmers and partnering organizations, we develop new tools that help the world’s farmers grow food using less of the Earth’s natural resources. We know people have different points of view on these topics, and it’s important that they’re able to express and share them.”

Emily Radusovksy, a first-year environmental science major, voiced her opinion on Monsanto.

“As far as Monsanto goes,” Radusovksy said. “A lot of what they do is very unethical because they have so much power. I don’t think any group should ever be given that much power.”

Despite the arrests, the Anti-Monsanto Project does not plan on halting their crusade against Monsanto.

“We may not have succeeded in shutting down Monsanto yesterday, but we proved our conviction and showed that we support each other,” the statement read. “This won’t be the last attempt. We will begin early, and push to have even more people. Next episode, we will shut them down, arrests or not!! We will be back, and we will be stronger!!”

 

Written by: Nicolas Rago — city@theaggie.org

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