Protestors in the Swiss city of Basel have staged a major demonstration against agrochemical firms as part of a global movement.
Organisersexternal link said an estimated 2,000 people and marched to the headquarters of the Chinese-owned company Syngenta, on Saturday. Other Basel-based agrochemical firms targeted were the multinationals Bayer and BASF.
They called for a ban on pesticides and warned of the destruction of the rainforests by multinational companies. Plans for a free trade agreement between Switzerland and Brazil must be put on hold, the grassroots movement urged.
The protest in Basel, situated on the border with Germany and France, is the fifth of its kind. It was supported by trade unions, left-wing political parties as well as environmental and human rights groups.
They blamed the chemical industry to produce hazardous pesticides which contributed to the extinction of many insect species.
For its part, Syngentaexternal link acknowledged that food is an emotional issue for large parts of the public. It is developing new seeds and innovative crop protection products, a company spokesman was quoted by a local television station.