FYI. Apologizes for any cross-posings.
>March 27, 2000
>Biotech protest draws 2,500
>Demonstrators march peacefully, seek ethics debate
>By Raphael Lewis and Jamal E. Watson, Globe Staff, Globe Correspondent
>Despite fears of violence in the streets, an estimated 2,500 chanting,
>costumed demonstrators kept their promise to march peacefully through the
>Back Bay yesterday as they voiced their opposition to the spread of
>Police reported no arrests. Protesters dressed as mutant creatures and
>macabre vegetables marched along five blocks of Boylston Street. The
>demonstration capped three days of a counter-conference staged in the shadow
>of Bio2000, a biotechnology convention at the Hynes Veterans Memorial
>Organizers of ''Biodevastation 2000'' yesterday said the march, and the
>three-hour rally in Copley Square that preceded it, offered proof that the
>fledgling movement is catching up with those in Europe, where protesters
>have forced governments to rethink the sale of genetically modified foods.
>''This went about as well as we could have possibly hoped,'' said Jessica
>Hayes, one of the rally's organizers, who noted that about 400 protesters
>greeted members of the biotechnology industry when they met last May in
>But if the ranks of the opponents of biotechnology are swelling, they are
>well behind the sustained growth the industry itself is enjoying. Bio2000,
>which runs through Thursday, has drawn nearly 8,000 scientists, researchers,
>and executives from around the world to discuss the latest innovations in
>gene-splicing and cross-species transplants. The industry last year had
>$18.6 billion in revenues.
>While the protesters chanted, danced, and drummed, convention delegates
>peered down from windows in the Hynes, many wondering what the fuss was
>''I thought it was a festive, colorful gathering, and I'm glad that it's
>been peaceful so far. However, their message was muddled, and they had so
>much misinformation,'' said Carl B. Feldbaum, president of the Biotechnology
>Industry Organization, which is sponsoring the conference.
>One industry leader was not so charitable in his assessment.
>''It's just garbage, unreal garbage,'' said David Dennis, president of
>Performance Plants of Kingston, Ontario, moments after he engaged one of
>Biodevastation 2000's leaders in a spontaneous debate. ''These are the most
>tested products in history. These people have no idea what they are talking
>Hayes and other leaders of Biodevastation 2000 yesterday challenged those at
>Bio2000 to a public debate on the scientific, moral, and economic basis for
>Such a discussion is not likely to occur, however, since industry
>representatives said they had requested a private forum to set the ground
>rules of a public debate, something the protesters rejected, according to
>Janice Bourque, executive director of the Massachusetts Biotechnology
>''As we move forward, we could hopefully have a chance to talk about our
>viewpoints; that's still our goal,'' Bourque said. ''Unfortunately, the
>timing is such that it's not practical to organize something like this.''
>The rally began as people dressed as freakish half-tomato, half-fish
>mutants, among other creatures, arrived at Copley Square. They were met by
>squads of police on foot, on horseback, on motorcycles, and in cruisers.
>Officers also kept an eye on the day's events from a helicopter and from the
>rooftops of several buildings.
>Under brilliant blue skies and warm temperatures, those who planned on
>taking part in the protest - which had a permit for 1,000 people - were soon
>joined by numerous bystanders taken up by the cause.
>''I took some of their literature to find out what all this is about,'' said
>Johnny Durant, 50, of Dorchester. ''It's real interesting, so I'm going to
>walk with them.''
>Biodevastation 2000 organizers were upset when a group calling itself the
>Church of Euthanasia from Somerville arrived with placards and signs
>advocating positions far from their own. A few shoving matches broke out, as
>well as several arguments. In the end, the group relocated to the periphery
>of Copley Square.
>Police officials said they were grateful to the rally's organizers for
>keeping their promise to stage a peaceful protest. But they said they would
>remain vigilant, monitoring other planned protests, including one scheduled
>for last night at the Museum of Fine Arts, where a Bio2000 reception was
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