Action at Max Planck Institute in Cologne

This morning a group of 50 people from the ICC including Diana from Mexico, Shamsun from Bangladesh, many people from the Cologne action camp along with people from a local anti-gen group paid a vist to the Max Planck Institute in Cologne.

The MPI institute is to 80% funded by public money and does not directly research for the industrty, however they provide a lot of basic technique and knowhow which is picked up by the industry. It is one of the worlds leading institutes in terms of scientific research. It has been researchig the use of GE in agriculture aswell.

So we gathered outside of the insitute with our banners. There was hardly any police there. Remember there are 12.000 policemen in the city these days.

After some talk with the MPI, the indians accepted an invitation to come and discuss inside in a big auditorium.

The represenatnt of the MPI started a classic lecture on how the use of Genetic Engeneering in agriculture is going to feed the world.

The ICCers were sitting very quietly and disciplined, listening to the speach while some europeans started making remarks about how wrong the basic assumptions were.

Eventually the microphone was opened to the ICCers and two farmers said that they were happy that the MPI people were worried about the problem of the world food situation, but that with their traditional agricultural methods indian farmers were more than able to feed their population and that the use of GE in agriculture was totally unecessary. He compared to the experience of the Green Revolution giving concrete example in their life highlighting the dependency created towards pesticides, the salinity of the soil, the polluted water and the fact that we had to listen to nature and prevail the traditional farming knowledge.

There were many verbal exchanges. Shamsun from Bangladesh gave a nice statement aswell. Still the indians were pretty quiet for my taste. They seemed impressed by the room, the facilities and the nice graphics being presented on the overhead projector and also by the fact of being distributed so many color brochures for free.

The MPI people insisted on the fact that they didn't have any responsibility, but the politicians ! Eventually we were indirectly asked to leave the place, saying the time was over and the police was expecting us to go. By that time two heavy loaded police riot vans had gathered around the building and the police was distributed in the area like army soldiers.

We stayed outside the fence for a while putting biohazard stikers all over the place. Chris brought along her latest'll get to see it in geneva or Cologne. The ICCers and the police left quietly from the MaxPlanckInstitute back to the camp.