Six Dakota pipeline protesters arrested at downtown bank
Crowd was demonstrating outside a Wells Fargo branch to support N.D. tribe
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.”
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.