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GE shareholders meeting met by protests

General Electric shareholders convened for their annual meeting at Detroit’s Renaissance Center Wednesday.

They were met by protesters who say GE and other big companies are not shouldering their fair share of the tax burden.

Thousands of people, calling themselves part of the “99% coalition,” shouted for GE to pay its “fair share.”

GE made more than $13 billion in profits in 2011—but protesters say the company exploits tax code loopholes to avoid paying what it should.

Inside the meeting, GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt tried to make the case that a thriving company translates into more US jobs.

“The fact is that to grow, we have to grow around the world," Immelt said. "But we also have to invest in the United States.”

Immelt says GE will add 300 jobsto its advanced manufacturing and software development center in Van Buren Township near Detroit. The facility will run at capacity, with a total of 1600 workers.

 “This community, like our employees, values work and understands the importance of advanced manufacturing to our future,” Immelt said. “This is home to world-class universities and professionals, with deep knowledge of new technology, the kind of skills that will allow us to win in the global marketplace.”

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.