2,000 Women Protest Against GM Food, Blockade Supermarket in Brazil

Amidst widescale protests against corporate control of the food chain 2,000 Brazilian women blockaded a supermarket 800 miles south of Brasilia in a protest against genetically engineered food

March 8, 2001

BRASILIA, Brazil: Women farmers throughout Brazil demonstrated Thursday on International Women’s Day to protest worldwide economic policies they say are unfair.

Some 700 women members of Brazil’s Landless Rural Workers Movement occupied a McDonald’s restaurant in Porto Alegre, some 1,600 kms (1,000 miles) south of Brasilia.

They burned flags bearing the fast-food chain’s logo, criticized economic globalization and called the Brazilian government a slave to “world neoliberalism.” Thursday’s protest was inspired by the anti-globalization efforts of French activist Jose Bove a sheep farmer who shot to fame for ransacking a McDonald’s restaurant in France and was arrested in Brazil last January after he joined the workers movement in a massive protest.

Also on Thursday, some 2,000 women blocked access to a supermarket in Florianopolis, 1,300 kms (800 miles) south of Brasilia, claiming it sold genetically engineered food.

And in Belo Horizonte, some 600 kms (380 miles) southeast of Brasilia, a group of women protested in front of the local city council chambers demanding that the government speed up agrarian reform.