More than 2,000 people have marched peacefully in the Swiss city of Basel to protest the practices of agrichemical companies such as Monsanto and Syngenta.
As part of the international “March against Monsanto” movement, they denounced the power of big agribusiness groups and called for them to be more environmentally and socially responsible. Protestors denounced toxic pesticides, genetic engineering, seed patenting and a profit-oriented approach to food production.
Another “March against Monsanto” was also held on Saturday in Morges, in the French-speaking canton of Vaud where the US giant has one of its headquarters. Some 1,000 people participated in that demonstration, according to the regional newspaper 24 heures.
US multinational Monsanto’s products include a widely used weed-killer which has recently been at the centre of Europe-wide controversy.
Demonstrators in Basel also called for funding for an agro-environmental institute at the city's university and an end to sponsoring and partnerships between the canton and agribusiness group Syngenta. An open letter to the Basel cantonal government expressing these demands was made public at the end of the march.
The Swiss group Syngenta, now in Chinese hands, is one of the world’s biggest producers of pesticides, and is headquartered in Basel.
This is the fourth such demonstration in Basel against big agribusiness. This year it was supported by some 60 organisations and political parties.