Monday morning at the annual conference European Society for Plant Breeding Research in Switzerland started as planned. Researchers presented a talk on genomics and bioinformatics to the hundreds of scientists attending. But then things took a dramatic turn.
By Kaleigh Rogers | MOTHERBOARD
“It’s around 11 o’clock when a group of activists enters the conference room of the ETH Zürich, throwing urine on the audience while painting ‘Shit on technology’ on the wall,” said Beat Boller, the president of the society, in a released statement. “When they were gone they left considerable damage, a mess of rotten eggs and poo, and an audience full of incomprehension behind.”
Police strongly suspect the activists were protesting against genetically-modified crops, according to the New Journal of Zurich, and said the masked individuals threw cow dung, urine, and rotten eggs. Some conference participants did get feces thrown on them, but no one was injured, according to the report.
But if the activists really were anti-GMO, this conference probably wasn’t the place to stage their protest. It’s true, the event was sponsored by some big names in the GM crop world, like Syngenta, Monsanto’s Swiss rival. But it was attended by scientists and researchers with all kinds of backgrounds, who were coming together to look at new technology and share ideas with a specific goal in mind: finding a solution to food insecurity.