Dakota Access Pipeline protesters block access to Wells Fargo offices

Thursday morning employees of Wells Fargo in Minneapolis came to work and found Dakota Access Pipeline protesters holding a large banner that read, “Wells Fargo funds genocide.” Another group of protesters locked themselves together and blocked access to the building’s elevators, preventing people from getting to work. An ABC affiliate in St. Paul reports:

The protesters claim Wells Fargo is helping finance the companies building the pipeline, and they’re calling on investors to withdraw from the pipeline project. Organizers of the protest say it was part of a nationwide day of action called for by activists in support of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe.

Some workers took a freight elevator to work but video shows other employees simply shoved their way through or around the protesters. In one case, an employee shoved one of the protesters against a wall and put another one in a headlock:

After about 4 hours the protesters finally vacated the Wells Fargo lobby, but only after a representative from the bank agreed to meet with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. That promise was put in writing and an image of the letter given to protesters was posted online:

Last month the New York Times reported on the current pressure campaign against several big banks, including Wells Fargo, who provided a loan to the company building the Dakota Access Pipeline:

In early August, just as protesters from across the country descended on North Dakota to rally against an oil pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, some of the world’s biggest banks signed off on a $2.5 billion loan to help complete the sprawling project.

Now, those banks — which include Citigroup and Wells Fargo of the United States, TD Bank of Canada and Mizuho of Japan — have come under fire for their role in bankrolling the pipeline. In an open letter on Monday, 26 environmental groups urged those banks to halt further loan payments to the project, which the Sioux say threatens their sacred lands and water supply…

“Banks have a choice to either finance the transition to renewable energy, or to finance pipelines and power plants that will lock us into fossil fuels for the next 40 years,” said Johan Frijns, director of BankTrack, a Netherlands-based advocacy organization that led the campaign. “If we’re serious about fighting climate change, we can’t continue to finance fossil fuel infrastructure of any kind.”

The letter sent by BankTrack, and signed by groups like Greenpeace and the Sierra Club, called for the banks involved to stop disbursing the money that is funding the project. Environmentalist groups claim they have seen donations surge since Donald Trump was elected and are vowing to fight on no matter what happens with the Dakota Access Pipeline.

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