Wells Fargo Middletown Shut Down for 2 Hours; Protesters Demand Divestment from Dakota Access Pipeline

Dan Fischer, Dragonfly Climate Collective

For nearly two hours on April 7, customers were unable to get into the local Wells Fargo branch. A police officer told people attempting to enter that they would not be able to do so. After all, 76-year-old climate protester Vic Lancia had locked himself to two trash bins, each filled with 500 pounds of concrete and rocks, blocking entrance to the front door. Around the corner, nine Wesleyan students linked arms in order to prevent cars from accessing the drive-thru. They chanted “You can’t drink oil, keep it in the soil!”

Local residents, students and members of climate justice groups–about 45 people in total–protested outside Wells Fargo in opposition to the bank’s funding of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). The proposed $3.8 billion oil pipe-line would threaten the drinking water and land of the Stan-ding Rock Sioux and surrounding indigenous communities in so-called “North Dakota” and other states, posing dangers to the environment and to indigenous sovereignty. Wells Fargo has invested $120 million in the pipeline’s development.

Middletown residents and Wesleyan students have repeatedly protested at Wells Fargo over the past months, but this demonstration marked an escalation in local efforts, with people breaking the law in order to disrupt the bank’s activities.

“I will not stop letting my voice be heard as an indigenous woman. I stand here to protect water from being polluted,” said Katrina Harry, a Navajo woman who joined the demonstration.

“Settler colonialism is a structure that has displaced Native Americans from their land for hundreds of years, and the Dakota Access Pipeline is another violent colonial project endorsed by the United States government,” said Wesleyan student Angel Martin. “I am coming to show solidarity with the water protectors who resisted and are still resisting DAPL. I am coming because indigenous sovereignty matters and native lives matter.”

For the full report of the action and to see photos, please go to http://www.capitalismvsclimate.org/2017/04/wells-fargo-branch-shut-down-for-two-hours-protesters-demand-divestment-from-dakota-access-pipeline.

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