Strong police presence greets biotech protesters

Monday, May 19, 2003

ST. LOUIS -- A few hundred people opposed to genetically-engineered food marched past police protecting the site of an agricultural forum Sunday, but no confrontations were reported.

Demonstrators banged drums and chanted slogans as they walked past police lines, barricades and boarded up windows near the Hyatt Regency Hotel, where the World Agricultural Forum is being held.

Scientists, agriculture experts, educators and farmers from 26 countries were expected at the WAF's 2003 World Congress.

Roughly 100 police officers were in the area. A few dozen officers, batons in hand, stood in front of their cars as the protesters passed. Officers also lined across the entrance to the hotel.

The protesters contend seeds and foods that have been genetically modified, such as those produced by Monsanto, are harmful to consumers and the environment.

Regulatory agencies throughout the world have deemed Monsanto products safe, said spokesman Bryan Hurley.

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