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Five protesters arrested at Halliburton meeting

Five people were arrested as hundreds of protesters chanting "war profiteers" converged on Iraq contractor Halliburton Co.'s annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday.
PROTESTORS
Protesters throw fake money around during a demonstration outside the Houston hotel where Halliburton Co. was holding its annual stockholders meeting Wednesday.Pat Sullivan / AP
/ Source: Reuters

Five people were arrested as hundreds of protesters chanting "war profiteers" converged on Iraq contractor Halliburton Co.'s annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday.

The four men and one woman arrested were charged with trespassing after they entered the downtown hotel where the meeting was taking place and handcuffed themselves to railings, a police spokeswoman said.

In a prepared statement, Halliburton said it respected the rights of protesters to demonstrate, but said it would continue its work in Iraq under the U.S. military contracts.

"Even if they don't have the facts right, they have a right to speak up," Halliburton spokeswoman Wendy Hall said in the statement.

Halliburton's engineering and construction arm, KBR, formerly known as Kellogg Brown & Root, is the U.S. military's largest contractor in Iraq, with contracts that could eventually be worth $18 billion.

At the meeting, shareholders approved a proposal to allow the company to increase its authorized common stock by 67 percent to one billion from 600 million. The company currently has about 440 million shares outstanding.

Halliburton has not indicated whether it would issue new shares, but said the measure would give it the flexibility to issue or reserve common stock without calling a special shareholder meeting.

The proposal also authorized the issuance of five million preferred shares. The company currently has no outstanding preferred shares.

A shareholder proposal sponsored by the United Association S&P 500 Index Fund requiring the chief executive officer and chairman positions be held by different people failed to gain approval. Dave Lesar currently holds both titles.