On Saturday, massive demonstrations took place in nearly forty French cities against Monsanto, an U.S. agrochemical corporation acquired by the German group Bayer last June in a US$68 billon deal.
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In France, residents of Toulouse, Montpellier, Rochefort, Digne-les-Bains, Marseille, Lyon, Lille, Le Mans and Lannion held huge rallies in their cities, sometimes merging with the Yellow Vests anti-austerity demonstrations. Anti-Monsanto and environmental activists also held events in Germany, Switzerland, Serbia, Portugal, Australia, Argentina, Chile and the United States.
May 18, 2019 marks the seventh edition of the Global March Against Monsanto, which was initiated May 25, 2013 to protest against glyphosate and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) created by the mega-corporation.
"We want a alternative, ecological and productive agriculture which is capable of providing farmers with a fair income and consumers with healthy and affordable goods," a French woman protesting in Strasbourg, France told local media saying what's also required is "transparent agriculture without GMOs," which cause severe damage to a crop's surrounding biodiversity.
Demonstration against the agrochemical giant Monsanto, which manufactures pesticides and genetically modified organisms (GMOs), in Paris.
Within the past year, several lawsuits with international implications have been taken up against Monsanto and its agrochemical products, most noteably its infamous pesticide, Roundup.
In August 2018, California a superior court jury forced the company to pay about US$290 million to a landscaper, Dwayne Jhonson, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer after being exposed to glyphosate within Roundup on a daily basis for years.
This case was followed by the Hardeman vs. Monsanto case where a San Francisco jury found exposure to Roundup to cause lymphatic cancer in the plaintiff.
In mid-May, in the largest U.S.-based ruling against the company, a jury awarded more than US$2 billion in damages to a Californian couple ruling that Monsanto did not warn about cancer-related risks.
This third consecutive failure against the company by a US jury prompted Monsanto's stock to close at its lowest level in nearly seven years.
According to the Chilean media Resumen, Roundup is currently the most used herbicide in developing countries, despite its being a known carcinogen since 2016 and connection to causing Parkinson's disease along with endocrine and reproductive conditions.
Tens of thousands of citizens around the world are angry with Monsanto today! 2019 March against Monsanto.
On May 10, the Paris Prosecutor's Office opened an investigation against Monsanto for "fraudulently and illegally" collecting data of people working against Monsanto who said the company ismonitoring their activities.
The newspaper Le Monde uncovered a database the multinational has with information about journalists, politicians and other public figures who have taken positions against Monsanto's controversial Roundup.
Marching in Paris, Delphine Batho told Le Monde newspaper, "I wrote to legislator Richard Ferrand to file a complaint (against the Monsanto list). Adozen legislators have been questioned about Monsanto, but I have received no response regarding this attack on democracy "
The French outlet released this information on a tip from the Fleishman-Hillard lobby company hired by Monsanto to assist in its defense of glyphosate-related cases.
Bayer and Fleishman-Hillard have argued that they had "no evidence" of such database, a surveillance mechanism banned by the French state that prohibits gathering of non-consented information about a person's political and philosophical opinions.