Monsanto Co's seed research unit in southeastern Brazil was invaded by about 300 people on Friday.
Women from Via Campesina, an activist group, broke into the facility in Santa Cruz das Palmeiras, Sao Paulo state, and destroyed a greenhouse and a testing field for genetically modified corn, the group said in an e-mailed statement.
The action was taken to protest Brazil's approval last month of genetically modified corn from Monsanto and Bayer AG for sale and planting, said Igor Felippe Santos, a spokesman for a related advocacy group, the Movimento dos Sem-Terra. He described the 5am incident as "peaceful."
"It was directed only at the MON810 seed, which gained government approval," Santos said in a telephone interview. "No action is planned against Bayer."
Monsanto condemned the action yesterday in an e-mailed statement.
"In a democratic regime such as the one we live in, disagreements -- ideological or otherwise -- should be dealt with via legal paths and not via attacks on individuals or on private property," it said.
Members of Via Campesina, an international group made up of rural workers and organizations, including Movimento dos Sem-Terra, have taken destructive actions against other international companies before. Movimento dos Sem-Terra translates to the Landless Workers Movement.
"Actions by the female activists will continue until the middle of next week, in commemoration of International Women's Day," Santos said.
About 900 women from Via Campesina destroyed 4 hectares of industrial eucalyptus plantations cultivated by Finland's Stora Enso Oyj in Rio Grande do Sul state, near the Uruguay border, on Tuesday, Santos said.
Via Campesina claimed Stora Enso's site was illegal because of its proximity to the border, the Landless Workers said in a statement.
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