Aetna Shareholder Meeting Halted By Protesters

May 20, 2011
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Aetna Inc.’s (AET) annual shareholder meeting was temporarily halted by a group of protesters calling for health-care reform. The meeting resumed a few minutes later, and police were called to the scene at a Philadelphia hotel.

The meeting had just gotten underway and Aetna Chief Executive Mark Bertolini was speaking to shareholders when protesters shouting and carrying signs burst through the doors.
Aetna security whisked Bertolini out a side door while other security tried to restrain protesters. After the meeting, Bertolini said a protester had charged toward him.
Two male protesters were temporarily hand-cuffed outside the meeting area, but it was not immediately clear if any arrests were made.
After the meeting, Bertolini said Aetna has been working on support for health reform since 2005, when the company publicly supported requiring coverage for all individuals.
“Everybody is entitled to their opinion, they just are not entitled to disrupt a meeting” and create an unsafe environment, Bertolini said. Bertolini was presiding over his first annual meeting in the top job.
The protesters, wearing T-shirts saying Action United, were shouting “we want health care, Aetna unfair” and “stop defeating Obama’s health care reform.”
According to its website, Action United was formed last year “to advance the interests of low and moderate income families around Pennsylvania.” It is unclear if the group was related to the protest–officials from the group weren’t immediately available for comment.

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