Shareholders and nonviolent direct actions at BBVA's Annual Shareholders Meeting


On 13 March 2009 in Bilbao in the Basque Country a series of actions took place to denounce the connections between the BBVA bank and the arms industry., during the company's Annual Shareholders Meeting.
As a large number of shareholders were entering the meeting at the Euskalduna Palace, a group of activists from KEM- MOC repeated the action they took last year - three “business people” standing outside the meeting and covering themselves with red paint, symbolising the blood of the victims of the deadly business of the bank. Even though the police were expecting this, and even with all the security in place, the activists still managed to sneak in and do the action in front of all the shareholders entering the meeting.

Following this action and in the inside of the Palace, the campaign BBVA Without Arms took part in the meeting as representatives had bought one share each to give them the right to take part and speak. Last year two members of the campaign spoke about the connections between the bank and the arms trade. This year the organisers were more prepared and made it almost impossible for members of the campaign to give their speech, but finally - almost at the end of the meeting - Pere Ortega from Centre d'Estudis per la Pau JM Delàs (Justícia i Pau) got the chance to speak. He argued that “In any human activity, morality should come first, the rest - while important - is an accessory. That is, profit has to adhere to rules of ethical behaviour. So how we accept that profits derived from the BBVA business are ethically reprehensible? In particular the production and export of armaments[...] Regarding the war industry in Spain, BBVA is a shareholder, directly or indirectly Indra, Iberian Space Rymsa, Inmize and Hisdesat ECESB.”
After Pere Ortega's presentation the CEO of BBVA took a file that he had prepared beforehand - not like last year when they were caught in full surprise – and presented the bank's efforts to become more ethical. Clearly these measures are not good enough as BBVA continues to be one of the main Spanish financial institution supporting war profiteers.

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