Angry Shareholders Pelt Bank Chairman With Shoes

Fortis meeting turns ugly as investors start singing 'La Marseillaise'
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 28, 2009 8:31 AM CDT
Angry Shareholders Pelt Bank Chairman With Shoes
A demonstrator dressed as a clown performs with fire at the entrance of the Fortis General Meeting of shareholders at Flanders Expo in Ghent, Belgium, Tuesday April 28, 2009.   (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

An emergency meeting of troubled Belgian bank Fortis had to be suspended today after raucous shareholders raided the stage and pelted the bank's chairman with shoes. The bank is attempting to broker a sale to BNP Paribas, the French giant, but angry small shareholders booed, shouted down speakers and demanded the chief's resignation. They even taunted the plans to sell to BNP by singing "La Marseillaise," reports the Financial Times.

Although shares in Fortis have lost 90% of their value over the past year, a coalition of 2,300 shareholders want the bank to remain Belgian and independent. The atmosphere at the meeting in Ghent hardly improved after a 30-minute pause, when hundreds of shareholders continued to crowd around the podium, held back by dozens of security officers. Said one shareholder: "This is fun, but I don’t even want to think what it’s doing to the share price." (Read more Fortis stories.)

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