PicturePhoto: Langelle/photolangelle.org for GJEP
(Asheville, NC, US) Three demonstrators were brutally arrested today at the controversial Tree Biotechnology 2013 conference.  They attempted to use GMO caution tape to wrap a bus full of conference participants headed for an upscale dinner at the Biltmore Estate. Dozens more groaning zombie “franken-tree” protesters banged pots and pans and chanted anti-genetically engineered tree slogans.

Will Bennington, a campaigner with Global Justice Ecology Project and the Campaign to STOP GE Trees, was one of those arrested for blockading the buses. Bennington said, “We’re blocking the buses because these conference attendees are on their way to dinner at the Biltmore Estate.  Built by the Vanderbilts, the Biltmore is a symbol of the wealthy and powerful, and one of the birthplaces of industrial forestry in the US, which wiped out forests from coast to coast. The tree biotechnology industry is continuing this destructive legacy.  They plan to cut down native forests and replace them with GE tree plantations grown solely for the profit of the elite at the expense of local communities and biodiversity.”

Protesters are demanding a ban on the release of GE trees into the environment. South Carolina-based ArborGen, a major conference sponsor, has a request pending with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to release millions of genetically engineered eucalyptus trees annually for planting in vast plantations across the US South.

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PicturePhoto: Bennington for GJEP
Just a day after two Asheville, NC residents were arrested for interrupting a talk at the Tree Biotechnology 2013 Conference, hundreds of demonstrators descended upon the conference center, throwing the biggest industry event of the year into utter chaos.

The demonstration – the world’s largest ever against GE trees – lasted four hours, and included speakers, singing, chanting and street theatre.

As part of a international movement against extreme energy extraction, demonstrators included members of Earth First!, Tar Sands Blockade, Mountain Justice and anti-mountaintop removal activists.  Local farmers, grandparents, children and students also participated.

PictureProtestors sent a clear message to message to the GE tree industry and its investors – expect resistance. Photo: Langelle/photolangelle.org for GJEP
Asheville, NC (US)-Hundreds of demonstrators marched on an international forest biotechnology industry conference today, demanding a ban on the release of genetically engineered trees into the environment.

The protest, the largest yet against GE trees, occurred one day after two Asheville residents were arrested while disrupting a presentation titled “Engineering Trees for the Biorefinery.”

Following the arrests and the threat of protest today, the conference went on high alert. Police maintained a presence inside and outside the hotel conference center all day, participant badges were scrutinized, conference doors were locked during sessions, and hotel access restricted.

Two of the major conference sponsors, FuturaGene and ArborGen, are moving forward with plans to commercially release GE eucalyptus trees in Brazil and the US.

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(Asheville, NC) As the Tree Biotechnology 2013 conference kicked off early Monday, two Asheville residents were arrested after disrupting a major presentation by Belgian tree engineer Wout Boerjan entitled, “Engineering trees for the biorefinery.”

The protestors said that if legalized, GE trees would lead to the destruction of native forests and biodiversity in the US South, and be economically devastating to rural communities.

The talk was disrupted for 20 minutes.

Continue reading here...

Over one-thousand people gathered in Downtown Asheville, North Carolina Saturday to participate in the worldwide day of actions against Monsanto.  The rally and march coincided with similar demonstrations in over 300 cities across the world, with an estimated 50 million people participating, according to the Huffington Post.

Global Justice Ecology Project and the Campaign to STOP Genetically Engineered Trees are in town for a week of actions against GE trees at a major industry conference, and were a featured part of the rally and march.

Click here for the rest of the photo essay on Climate-Connections

We are just days away from an exciting week of protests and educational events against genetically engineered trees and the 2013 Tree Biotechnology Conference.  Check out this list of events and come on out to stand up for native forests and say NO to GE trees:

Saturday May 25

Global March Against Monsanto

Join us as tens of thousands take to the streets around the world

to protest Monsanto.  2pm, Pack Square Park

Monday May 27

Convergence Center open 12-3pm @ Apothecary (39 S. Market St)

Teach-in on gentically engineered trees

Get educated on the threats of GE trees and get plugged in

to the week of resistance. Puppett, sign and banner making party!

@ Toy Boat Community Arts Center

(101 Fairview Road), 3-9pm

Tuesday May 28

Direct Action Training meet @ Apothecary 10am -2pm

Know Your Rights @ Apothecary 2pm

Puppets and Art Making for March @ Apothecary 12-4 pm

March and Mass Action Against the

2013  Tree Biotech Conference

Rally 4pm @ Pritchard Park, March @ 4:45pm


Wednesday May 29

Forest Ecology Hike

Learn about our native forests that are threatened

by GE trees. 10 am. Meeting location TBA

A Silent Forest Film Screening @ Apothecary 6-7pm

Solidarity Event: Tar Sands Blockade Talk @ Firestorm Cafe 4:30

Friday May 31

Goodbye and Good Riddance

Join us in giving the 2013 Tree Biotechnology

Conference a final farewell on their last night in Asheville

Meet @ the Apothecary 5pm