Hundreds of anti-GM protesters gathered in Harpenden today to demonstrate against trials that are currently taking place at Rothamsted Research.

Campaigners gathered in Rothamsted Park this morning after an order was issued by the council to ban the public from the site.

Police horses and the force’s helicopter were part of the large operation set up by Hertfordshire Constabulary.

However the protest remained peaceful and people spent the afternoon listening to speakers and live music.

Some members of the group had travelled from Africa and France to be part of today’s protest.

Following speeches from local farmers, campaigners and other protesters, the group linked arms forming a number of lines and marched towards the police line surrounding the Rothamsted Research site.

Police have said that they believe about 200 people attended today’s demonstration but Take the Flour Back, the campaign group that organised the protest, believe it was double that.

Kate Bell, a representative from Take the Flour Back, said: “Here at the beginning of a new resistance to this obsolete technology, we see GM hidden behind a fortress.

“We wanted to do the responsible thing and remove the threat of GM contamination - sadly it wasn’t possible to do that effectively today.

“However, we stand arm in arm with farmers and growers from around the world, who are prepared to risk their freedom to stop the imposition of GM crops.”

Clare Marriage, the marketing director of an organic farm in Berkshire, spent the afternoon giving out organically grown bread to show people the quality of organic products.

She said: “We are here today to let people know that there is an alternative.

“There is an alternative way and it is a good way and it is a natural way.”

Scientists at Rothamsted Research gathered at the site today in the hope that they would be able to speak to the protesters.

Before the protest began Gia Aradottir, one of the main scientists working on the GM trials, admitted that she was apprehensive about the action.

However later in the afternoon she said she was pleased with how the afternoon had turned out.

She said: “I am glad that they have been able to have a peaceful protest.

“I hope they feel that they have had their voices heard.”

“We are incredibly grateful to the police. Hertfordshire Constabulary have been very good.”