Young Women Shut Down TD Bank, Call for Divestment of the Dakota Access Pipeline
by Perry Wheeler
November 21, 2016
Philadelphia, PA- Three women locked down outside of TD Bank Monday morning at 1500 John F Kennedy Boulevard in Center City Philadelphia, blocking the entrance and halting business for the morning. Participants held a banner stating, “TD Bank Divest your Money from DAPL.”
The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) is a $3.8 billion, 1,172 mile long pipeline project currently under construction from the Bakken shale fields of North Dakota to Peoria, Illinois. The pipeline, a project of Energy Transfer Partners, would carry fracked oil from the Bakken shale fields, through Standing Rock Sioux Tribal land, under the Missouri River, and eight other major waterways. It poses a significant threat to the water supply of the Standing Rock Sioux and millions of other people downstream, and would desecrate sacred burial grounds, religious, and other historical sites.
Jessica Rohan, one of the protesters locked down, stated, “I am putting my body on the line in solidarity with the Water Protectors at Standing Rock. We are responding to the call for direct action made by indigenous women to defend Native sovereignty and water. In the past 24 hours, the non-violent actions of Water Protectors have been met with tear gas, concussion grenades, and water cannons. We’re here to tell TD Bank that destroying indigenous land and poisoning the water of thousands of people is bad for business.”
TD Bank is one of the major banks financing a $2.5 billion project finance loan to complete the Dakota Access Pipeline. Citibank, the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, and Mizuho Bank are the three other banks completing the $2.5 billion dollar loan. The participants of the action called on TD Bank to withdraw its $130,000,000 portion of the loan and to stop financing for the Dakota Access Pipeline.
The action was called for by Pennsylvanian Native women and women of color, in response to the national call to action from the Water Protectors at Standing Rock. The pipeline violates the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) to which the United States is a signatory, in addition to violating the Treaty of Fort Laramie of 1851.
Since April, there has been a peaceful, nonviolent encampment on Standing Rock Sioux Tribal land in the path of the pipeline. In recent months, Water Protectors — the Sioux, Indigenous allies, and non-Native allies — have been met with extreme violence, such as the use of water cannons, pepper spray, concussion grenades, tasers, LRADs (Long Range Acoustic Devices), and dogs, from local and national law enforcement, and Energy Transfer Partners and their private security.
“The construction of this pipeline violates indigenous rights, it violates human rights, and it threatens the water supply of millions of people,” stated Abigail Meinen, another participant in the action. “Indigenous women have led the fight against this pipeline from the beginning. They are the guardians of the water, the life-giving force of the Earth. Today, as a group of women, we have come together in solidarity with our Indigenous sisters, mothers, and elders, and say that we will fight with you.”
The protest at TD Bank is one of many across the country targeting TD Bank, the other major financiers of the pipeline project, and the Army Corps of Engineers. The protest comes days after the largest bank in Norway, DNB, sold off its assets in the Dakota Access Pipeline project.