Lidia Senra, MEP

Lidia Senra, MEP

Press release

(Ghent, 23 December 2014) The judgement in the appeal trial of the 11 field Liberators from Wetteren was announced today – they were acquitted of their previous conviction of being a “criminal gang”.

The finding that all eleven activists were free of the charge of criminal association represents a victory for organizations, lawyers and activists who opposed the original conviction. This judgement also confirms that actions of civil disobedience cannot be criminalized, even if they involve damage to property. According to the Field Liberation Movement and all their supporters this action was necessary to denounce ecological and democratic abuses – civil disobedience strengthens democracy. In this context, the adoption of the GROEN bill that aims to make it impossible to sue protesters as criminal organizations would be a real breakthrough.

The patatistes should indeed pay compensation of about 18,000 euros to ILVO and the Hogeschool Gent: they propose that these institutions invest this money on research into agroecological agriculture, based on the needs of farmers and consumers, rather than those of multinational companies.

After this legal chapter that has lasted three and a half years, it is now time to look to the future.

Our agriculture and food production systems are facing significant challenges. The numerous demonstrations of farmers in recent weeks, the failed climate summit in Lima and ongoing actions against the current socially regressive government show that as a society we must urgently change direction in order to move away from the pollution of agribusiness and the law of the strongest.

The Field Liberation Movement now looks with energy and commitment to 2015 and the struggles against GMOs on our plates or on our fields; as well as struggles for fair prices for farmers and consumers, fair production chains, for independent research, and for new forms of democracy.