By Madeline Ziecker
On Sunday, October 16 from 9 a.m. until noon, activist group Millions Against Monsanto Hawaii converged near the intersection of Kanani Road and Pi’ilani Highway in front of Monsanto offices in Kihei.
Sunday’s protest was a part of Millions Against Monsanto’s “Right2Know” campaign, who say that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are being put in Maui’s food without proper labeling. For Monsanto protestors, GMO is an alternative acronym for: “Get Monsanto Out.”
Just under 100 people protesting in Kihei were counted around 11 a.m.
They lined up on both sides of the highway, prompting long honks from passing cars throughout the three-hour protest. One protester who was also present at Saturday’s Occupy Maui rally reported seeing a woman pull over.
“A brand-new BMW pulled up next to us and the driver yelled out the window, ‘We all have the right to an opinion!’ Then someone recognized the woman in the car as a Monsanto worker. That was a strong message. This is not about opinions, it’s about facts,” said the protester.
Though the protest was aimed toward passing the bill recently re-proposed to the Maui County Council which would require foods containing GMOs to be labeled, a couple of protesters were fighting broader battles.
A local woman holding a sign that read “Say no to GMO” said, “Those of us who live here are affected, not just by the chemicals in the food, but also by the presence of such an evil in the beautiful place we live.”
A group of activists at the scene discussed the GMO labeling issue, saying that it’s not only the labeling they want. Ideally they would like to stop GMO processing completely.
The activists found common ground with the Occupy Wall Street protests, in saying that it was unfair that one company could defy the public’s interest in labeling the contents of their product. In this equation, some of the protesters feel that the real problem is with the legislative and economic systems also currently being debated by some Occupy Wall Street protesters.
Three police officers quietly observed from the entrance to Monsanto until the protest ended at noon, as scheduled.
Millions Against Monsanto say they will continue to organize monthly protests until the Maui GMO labeling bill is passed and executed.
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