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Great Lakes Article:

Activists hope to disrupt Perrier
Two groups to protest privatization of Michigan’s Great Lakes water basin

Daniel J. Eizans
Life Assistant News Editor
Posted: September 19, 2002

Several water activist groups will organize in Stanwood Saturday as part of an attempt to disrupt business for the Swiss-based water giant, Nestle Waters North America.

The Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation and the Sweetwater Alliance legally will picket the Ice Mountain/Perrier bottling plant as part of a weeklong series of events protesting the privatization of Michigan’s Great Lakes water basin.

The picket and rally is the third direct action against the actual Ice Mountain.

“We’re modeling it after the action and rally we had last April,” said Clare senior Jon Keesecker, Sweetwater Alliance member. “We had about 250 people turn out for that picket, so we’re hoping for at least that many.”

The day of action has been scheduled in conjunction with Friday’s speech to be given by internationally-known water scholar and author of “Blue Gold” Maude Barlow. The speech takes place at 4 p.m. in the Bovee University Center Auditorium.

The rally will begin at noon at the car-pool parking lot off U.S. Highway 131, Stanwood Exit 131. Participants will march a mile to the plant for the rally. Speakers, food and music are also scheduled in conjunction with the picket. Keesecker asks those participating to wear blue and bring their own water bottle.

“I think we’re (Sweetwater) growing and more people are becoming aware of the issue,” Keesecker said .

MCWC and Sweetwater Alliance have participated in several actions against Ice Mountain in protest of water privatization, during the past year, including no-shop protests and boycotts, but Robert Bartle of Sweetwater Alliance North said the protest of Ice Mountain’s presence in Michigan is only one of the issues the groups are concerned about.

“As a group, we’re looking at the water issue in a holistic sense,” Bartle said. People interested in the rally should arrive at the car-pool lot and being ready to march by noon.

Stanwood Ice Mountain Bottling Plant representatives were unavailable for comment.

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