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Bayer hit again in anti-GM protests

Break Bayer | 03.10.2003 13:10 | Bio-technology | Ecology

The offices of a Bayer subsidiary were occupied by protesters, in the escalating campaign to kick huge German multinational and UK genetically modified crop front runners out of GM in Britain.

Yesterday (2nd October) 13 anti-GM activists occupied the offices and warehouses of W Hawley & Son, a wholly owned subsidiary of Bayer AG - the UK's GM number one! This action was part of escalating national campaign to force Bayer out of GM crops in Britain. Bayer are by far the biggest company, and are leading the way towards commercialisation of GM crops in the UK.

It was clear Bayer is feeling the heat of the concerted campaign against them, as staff had obviously been briefed to expect unwanted visitors to the site. Having seen a van full of people parked outside, they refused entry to their offices. The protesters, after visiting the upstairs of the building and discovering it was used by a completely separate company, had to gain access to the downstairs by serupticious means. Some activists went to the warehouses outside, which appeared to be locked up (although this was made sure by another padlock being added!), others set off fire alarms which sent the all the staff from both companies pouring out into the car park, ready to be leafleted!

Once the office staff realised activists had got into the building, instead of panicking and trying to get rid of them, they shut down their computers and sat there calmly, while their office was re-filed around them (possibly they had been briefed to do this?). Some activists barricaded themselves in an office, and started telephoning Bayer Cropscience HQ to let them know about the visit.

Unfortunately, an animal rights demo was happening very close by, and when the police got the call from Bayer, they were able to very quickly send out a van of fully briefed public order cops to deal with the protest. However, although the police stopped the protesters activities on site, they added to the disruption magnificently. Without a moments hesitation, they smashed through the barricaded door, causing quite a lot of damage, and then held the protesters in the main corridor, and one of the main offices of the company for nearly an hour.

No one was arrested for this protest, and all in all, it was an excellent addition to this war of attrition! For more info on other actions,and how to join in see

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