More than 300 people and 17 voluntary groups walked down the streets of Valletta as part of a global protest against the multinational agricultural technology company Monsanto.

The walk, which started from City Gate, also had a of high attendance of foreigners who, together with other people, held up placards and posters calling out against the use of genetically modified organisms.

John Portelli, from the Malta Organic and Agricultural Movement, said he was very pleased with the turnout. “Foreigners are more aware about consumer rights about food consumption while unfortunately many Maltese are happy just to eat pastizzi, burgers or takeaway food,” he said.

Monsanto is the world’s largest producer of genetically modified crops and seeds.

There was a “very bad food culture” in Malta and there was the need for a national agricultural policy that covered the way vegetables were grown and processed into the food chain.

“I’m very happy that foreigners supported this initiative and that there was such a high turnout of voluntary groups,” he said.

In fact, the protest walk joined forces with another walk organised by the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Malta, which incidentally also had scheduled an awareness walk this morning in Valletta to raise awareness and to mark World Multiple Sclerosis Day, which falls on May 29.

The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Malta had been granted a police permit for the walk, which left the organisers of the walk against Monsanto without a police permit as the authorities did not grant a second one for another event so close to the first. Mr Portelli said they asked permission from Carmen Muscat, from the society, whether they could walk down together.

Mr Portelli also expressed satisfaction that three ministers, Godfrey Farrugia, Marie Louise Coleiro Preca and Helena Dalli, as well as Labour MP Marlene Farrugia, Nationalist MPs Joe Cassar and Charlo Bonnici and representatives from Alternattiva Demokratika also took part.

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