There were gatherings across the country Tuesday in support of efforts to stop a proposed oil pipeline that will impact the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota. They included rallies around Vermont and in Hanover, New Hampshire.
The “National Day of Solidarity with Standing Rock” was held partly to draw attention to banks helping to finance the project and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which would build the Dakota Access Pipeline.
In Montpelier, a crowd of demonstrators marched to the local branch of TD Bank. The bank is one of the institutions financing the pipeline. Organizers said the peaceful protest was intended as an “invitation, not a confrontation."
The State of Vermont deposits its cash assets in TD Bank, and protest organizer Stuart Blood says there will be an effort to convince the state to withdraw those funds.
“We’re at a very early stage of a campaign targeting the state’s deposits in the bank, but yes, there will be,” said Blood.
In Hanover, a group of peaceful protesters built a mandala using different grains and beans outside a Bank of America branch.
“We wanted to do something that was symbolic of an action that could bring people together and be not divisive,” said Karen Ganey, one of the Hanover protesters, as she poured a handful of corn, filling in the mandala design. “We think it’s important to be paying attention to the ways we are interconnected and unified and that will help us find solutions in the future.”
Similar protests were scheduled in Essex Junction, Middlebury, Manchester and Brattleboro.
Concerns about the project revolve around indigenous rights, climate change and fears that the pipeline, which would go under the Missouri River, could pollute the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s drinking water.