Vancouver residents participate in global Monsanto demonstration

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      A large crowd marched up Burrard Street (see video) in Vancouver as part of a worldwide day of protest against Monsanto.

      Demonstrations took place in approximately 40 countries against the U.S. biotech giant, which sells genetically engineered seeds and food products.

      The company's marketing practices in India came under serious criticism in the 2012 film Bitter Seeds, which recently screened at the Vancity Theatre.

      Filmmaker Micha X. Peled reported that every 30 minutes, a farmer kills himself in India, where Monsanto is acquiring a larger market share.

      According to Peled's film, Monsanto's seeds require more water for a successful cotton crop.

      On May 19, the director pointed in a panel discussion that this is happening as climate change is making Indian  monsoons more irregular and drought more common.

      Meanwhile, Monsanto has fought efforts to force mandatory labelling of genetically modified foods in the United States.

      And earlier this month, Monsanto won a U.S. Supreme Court ruling requiring farmers to pay the company when they use its genetically altered soybeans to make new seeds.

      The judge who wrote the ruling, Elena Kagan, was solicitor general when her department sided with Monsanto before the Supreme Court in 2010. It concerned the company's opposition to a ban on genetically modified alfalfa.

      Kagan was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Barack Obama. He also named former Monsanto lobbyist Islam Siddiqui as the chief agricultural negotiator in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

      Those aren't the only key positions occupied by officials with links to Monsanto.

      Obama appointed Michael Taylor—a former vice president for public policy at Monsanto—as deputy commissioner for foods at the Food and Drug Administration.

      For more on the protests around the world, see the video below.