Four people with the FANG Collective locked themselves to the outside entrance to the TD Bank in downtown Providence Wednesday morning, to protest the bank’s role in financing the contentious Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). Justice Gaines, Ash Trull, Cris Martínez and Arely Díaz used a series of bicycle locks and reinforced PVC pipe to lock themselves by the neck to the doors and to each other. A FANG Collective press release said the group was determined to “keep the entrance closed for as long as possible.”
DAPL is a $3.8B, 1,100 mile fracked-oil pipeline currently under construction from the Bakken shale fields of North Dakota to Peoria, Illinois. TD Bank is a key lender on a $2.5 billion loan that was signed on August 2nd to construct DAPL. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other leaders are concerned that a leak in the pipeline could containment drinking water for millions.
In the past week the Army Corps of Engineers and the North Dakota Governor have threatened to either evict the prayer camps that have been set up to protest the pipeline or blockade supplies from reaching the camps. The Sacred Stone Camp responded by citing the 1851 Treaty of Fort Laramie, which recognizes the land where the prayer camps are on as territory of the Great Sioux Nation.
In a statement Justice Gaines said, “I am doing this action to stand with the indigenous peoples in Standing Rock who are fighting for all of us and who are fighting for lands that they have been unfairly brutalized on, and to stand with all the indigenous and black folks that have been lost and who have been sacrificed for this country to exist.”
“As someone who is a low-income person I can’t really travel or I can’t do much in terms of donating so direct action is my way of holding solidarity with people,” said Arely Díaz in a statement.
All four were arrested after the Providence Fire Department extracted them using power tools behind a hastily erected curtain. The fifth person arrested, Aaron Jaehnig, was said by police to be aiding the protesters.
Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza and Mashapaug Nahaganset Chief Raymond Two Hawks Watson came together last week to demonstrate support for the people of Standing Rock, saying, “We have witnessed the failure of government to protect against pollution that denigrates natural habitats and destroys communities.”
This story will be updated.