Friday, October 23, 2015


On October 16, 2015, there was a march and protest against genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and more specifically, against Monsanto, in Washington, DC.
Disclaimer: My coverage of this event does not indicate that I do/do not identify with the protester's position on this issue.
The event began at the United States White House, in Lafayette Park. The protesters took to the street, and marched from the park to the headquarters of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The welcome at the EPA (by Department of Homeland Security) was calm, yet firm. This officer informed the protesters that they were welcome to protest on the front lawn, but if they attempted to enter the EPA building, they would be arrested. No one attempted entry.
Many of the protesters dressed up as honey bees, a species they have identified as being affected by Monsanto's products.
The honey bees staged a "die in" on the EPA lawn.
There was a range of speakers at the event, ranging from the very young (10 years old?) to adult. Their logic ranged as well, and a lot of numbers and statistics were stated without much context, in my opinion.
Next, the group marched on to the DC offices of Monsanto. This gentleman was attempting to get into the building, presumably on some sort of official business, when one of the protesters offered him some "Monsanto Bucks," a printed fake currency meant to represent the money that changes hands between government and company officials. He did not accept it.
The Monsanto building had prepared well, and had security guards and tape at the doors. They would not let this gentleman in. Apparently disgusted, he seemed to have had no choice but to walk away.
Interestingly, his security badge lanyard says "Criminal Division." I'm not sure what to make of that.
This was the only instance of tension that I witnessed during the protest. The police were present, but as you can see, quite relaxed and friendly with the protesters.
At this point, the energy of the group started to wane, and I moved on with my evening.
This was an interesting shoot for me. I covered it entirely with my Leica M9, 35mm f2 Summicron v.3, and 90mm f4 Elmar C lenses. Great fun.