On Saturday 6 November a group of people gathered at The Bear Pit in Bristol, England, in answer to a call from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota, who are defending their land and water from the Dakota Access oil Pipeline (DAPL). Following the call for people to stand up in solidarity with their struggle and against extractive industries worldwide, a group of around 60 people made banners reading “Bristol Stands With Standing Rock” and “#NoDAPL” before marching through town to spread the word.
During the march the group stopped outside Barclays in Broadmead and HSCB in Cabot Circus, who are among the financial institutions funding the pipeline. Two of those in attendance covered themselves with an oil-like substance (molasses) to protest the pipeline and urge the banks to stop funding it, while chanting “Bristol stands with standing rock, oil pipelines have to stop” and “Save the water, save the soil, we don’t want your dirty oil”.
The Dakota Access Pipeline is a project of Energy Transfer Partners and aims to take crude oil from North Dakota to Illinois, through a Native American reservation (which was routed there after residents of Bismarck ND objected to the pipeline in their area due to safety concerns) and the Missouri river. Protectors have set up camps to try to halt the pipeline, with concerns over water and land contamination and in order to protect sacred sites. Pipeline works have already destroyed a sacred native burial ground and armed police have used extreme violence, including rubber bullets and acoustic weapons, against peaceful protesters and arrested over 140 people.
The action in Bristol was organised via a Facebook event page and is just one of many taking place around the world. Last week more than 1.6 million people used Facebook to “check-in” to Standing Rock in a bid to confuse the authorities after a report that they were using the feature to track those attending the protection camps. Opposition to the pipeline is growing, as is support for indigenous peoples worldwide who are the original environmentalists and keepers of the land. The struggle at Standing Rock is not just an environmental one, but also an anti-colonial one.
For more information, check out the event page.
Find out more about #NoDAPL here.
Information about the banks funding DAPL.