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.

New Haven stands with Standing Rock outside Wells Fargo Bank

Thirty-five people protested outside of Wells Fargo Bank across from the New Haven Green on Oct. 20 because of the bank’s support of the Dakota Access pipeline.

Melinda Tuhus, organizer of New Haven Stands with Standing Rock, reports: ” …we shut down the bank for the last 10 minutes of the day… We got 25 more names for future work and handed out 100 flyers. We sang and chanted for quite awhile and local activist Norman Clement (Penobscot) spoke about his visit last month to Standing Rock. Afterward some of us discussed potential future actions, most likely around Thanksgiving.”

From the flyer at the protest:

Wells Fargo is a major investor in the Dakota Access pipeline, being built by Energy Transfer Partners at the edge of the Standing Rock Sioux reservation and on their historic territory in North Dakota. The tribe is leading a global campaign to stop the pipeline, which threatens their water source – the Missouri River – and that of millions of people downstream.

Wells Fargo is contributing $467 million to the $3.8 billion globally funded project; the bank needs to cut off its financial support for this pipeline. If you are a Wells Fargo customer, please ask the bank to pull its funding for the pipeline. You can back up your request by moving your money to a local bank or a credit union.

Thousands of indigenous “protectors” are putting their bodies on the line to stop the destructive fracked oil pipeline. Its 1,100-mile path would move 500,000 barrels a day of heavy oil across four states from North Dakota to Illinois, not only threatening the water but also – through its massive carbon emissions – contributing to the over-heating of the planet beyond its capacity to maintain life as we know it.

While the issue is tied up in court, construction continues, and the protectors are facing increasing arrests and more repressive police action in response to their militant but non-violent stance. They say this pipeline cannot and will not go forward, and we stand with them.

For more information go to http://www.nodaplsolidarity.org, or contact New Haven Stands with Standing Rock nhswsr@gmail.com.