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Interventions all round

As reported in last month's PN, `twas the season for AGM-related protests. Here's a quick roundup of protest at three of the worst companies' annual junkets:

BAE Systems

Albert Beale writes... The AGM of Britain's biggest purveyor of armaments - BAE Systems - was as usual a target for anti-arms trade activists, both inside and outside the meeting on 4 May.

The Campaign Against Arms Trade's street theatre outside, showing members of the government as poodles of the weapons merchants, helped criticisms of the company to make it onto the financial pages of the national press.

Inside, neither the questioning nor the disruption by token shareholders reached the heights it sometimes does (only one person was ejected from the meeting this year); but nevertheless, issues such as the morality of the trade and the corruption involved took up a majority of the meeting despite Chair Dick Olver having brushed up his repressive tolerance techniques since last time.

Serco

Ippy and Eirwen write... The British “facilities management” company continue to expand their “public service” PFI portfolio and rake in the cash from nuclear weapons, detention centres, and hospitals. This year Aldermaston Women were joined by women involved in supporting asylum seekers.

There were some very fine questions this year. One “normal” shareholder even commented that the “board seem hostile to shareholders” and asked how many people they usually eject from meetings! A peace flag procession inside the AGM made an impact. Oustide, a lone supporter was pounced on by SOCPA-notice-wielding police within minutes of starting his one-man-with-placard protest!

Shell

Noisy Joe writes... The main meeting took place in the Hague on 16 May, with a video feed to London's Novotel Hammersmith.

I got in, while others from Rising Tide stayed outside to leaflet shareholders and passers-by, and I then sat through interminable questions about whether the management was overpaying itself in order to have a chance to take the microphone. But before I had my turn, there were some good interventions from members of communities living right next to highly polluting and dangerous facilities.

Hours into the meeting, I finally stood up and said something like “We've been hearing today from the CEO about the company's commitment to expanding massively its production of oil and gas, which is the absolute antithesis of sustainability” [He actually said an awful lot more! See http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2 005/05/340739.html].