Six Dakota pipe­line pro­test­ers ar­rested at down­town bank

Crowd was demon­strat­ing out­side a Wells Fargo branch to sup­port N.D. tribe

Baltimore Sun - - AROUND THE REGION - By Yvonne Wenger The As­so­ci­ated Press contributed to this ar­ti­cle. ywenger@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/yvon­newenger

Six men and women were ar­rested for tres­pass­ing Fri­day in down­town Bal­ti­more af­ter chain­ing them­selves to­gether and re­fus­ing to leave a Wells Fargo bank in protest of fund­ing for the con­tro­ver­sial Dakota Ac­cess oil pipe­line.

Police said they ar­rested the pro­test­ers about 2:15 p.m. af­ter is­su­ing re­peated warn­ings. A group of roughly 50 had gath­ered at the in­ter­sec­tion of Saint Paul and Bal­ti­more streets. Some en­tered the bank and re­fused to leave, police said.

Those ar­rested were iden­ti­fied only as a 24-year-old woman and a 27-year-old woman, both from Bal­ti­more; a 35-year-old man from Dun­dalk; a 23-year-old woman from Jar­rettsville; a 21-year-old woman from Der­wood; and a 42-year-old man from Car­roll­ton, Texas.

Ge­or­gia McCan­dlish, an or­ga­nizer and art teacher who lives in Green­mount West, said the protest was part of a national move­ment to show sol­i­dar­ity with the Stand­ing Rock Sioux Tribe, which for months has protested con­struc­tion of the pipe­line.

The $3.8 bil­lion pipe­line is planned to carry oil for 1,200 miles over four states, from west­ern North Dakota to a ship­ping point in Illi­nois. A por­tion will run un­der a Mis­souri River reser­voir. Those op­posed say it would harm drink­ing wa­ter on a nearby reser­va­tion and cul­tural sites.

The devel­oper, Dal­las-based En­ergy Trans­fer Part­ners, says the pipe­line will be safe and no sites have been dis­turbed. The com­pany has said it is un­will­ing to reroute the project.

“Bal­ti­more knows what racial in­jus­tice looks like,” McCan­dlish said. “We know the strug­gle is our own.”

A spokesman for Wells Fargo did not re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment.

McCan­dlish said the protest be­gan around 11 a.m. at the Christo­pher Colum­bus statue near Lit­tle Italy with more than 100 peo­ple and con­tin­ued down Pratt Street to the bank at 7 St. Paul St.

The peo­ple ar­rested had teth­ered them­selves to­gether us­ing chains and bi­cy­cle locks around their necks, McCan­dlish said.

Samir Hazboun, who works at an ed­u­ca­tion cen­ter in Ten­nessee, was vis­it­ing fam­ily for the hol­i­day in Takoma Park. He said the pipe­line would have far-reach­ing costs. The peo­ple most at risk are those who live in poor com­mu­ni­ties in the pipe­line’s foot­print, he said.

“Name a liv­ing thing that doesn’t need wa­ter to live,” Hazboun said. “The wealthy can al­ways move. A lot of com­mu­ni­ties are go­ing to face the front-line con­se­quences of this con­stant ex­trac­tion econ­omy.”

Some 300 peo­ple demon­strated on Thanks­giv­ing in Man­dan, N.D. About 50 miles south, a group con­tinue to camp out, as they have for more than six months. In Port­land, Ore., an es­ti­mated 350 peo­ple also ral­lied Thurs­day, chant­ing, “Stop the pipe­line” and “Wa­ter rights are hu­man rights.”

YVONNE WENGER/BAL­TI­MORE SUN

A crowd gath­ered out­side Wells Fargo bank in down­town Bal­ti­more on Fri­day af­ter six peo­ple were ar­rested for tres­pass­ing at the bank. They re­fused to leave when asked to.

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