CANADAPublished by MAC on 2007-05-02
Anti-mine activists arrested outside Barrick annual meeting of shareholders
By Lisa Wright, The Star
2nd May 2007
Two anti-mining protesters were arrested this morning outside Barrick Gold Corp.'s annual meeting at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. A woman in her late 20s, who was handing out pamphlets about the negative impacts of global gold mining, and a Toronto man in his early 40s were hauled off in a police van at about 9:30 a.m. for trespassing on public property and obstructing police, a Toronto Police sergeant said.
"They're free to get their point across but they were on private property," Sgt. Mark Hayward told the Star. "They were asked to leave and they refused to leave so they were arrested," he said.
The woman, from the San Francisco-based environmental group CorpWatch, is expected to be released today but the man, from Toronto watchdog group Global Aware, may be charged with obstructing police for intervening in the dispute between the woman and police, Hayward said.
He added that a platoon of eight officers was ready on the scene this morning after receiving intelligence of a potential protest against Barrick, the world's largest gold miner and a favourite target of environmental activists for their mining practices around the world. "We want to raise awareness about the significant ecological damage that their projects have caused in remote communities," said Natalie Lowrey of Friends of the Earth Australia.
The various groups were planning another rally outside Barrick's head office on Bay St. this afternoon. The Toronto-based company's meeting, held downstairs in the convention centre in the John Bassett Theatre, was otherwise quiet.
Barrick reported a net loss of US$159 million in the first quarter — its first quarterly loss in five years — to eliminate its controversial hedge book now that the price of gold is on the rise. The company's struggling share price jumped $1.72, or more than 5 per cent, to $32.87 by mid-afternoon.