AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – A group of people protesting the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline took their message to an Amherst bank branch on Friday. The protesters chained themselves to the doors of the TD Bank branch at 243 Triangle Street around 8:00 a.m. Friday, remaining there for hours.
According to Amherst Police Captain Jennifer Gundersen, four people were arrested and charged because of the protest, and they’re expected to be arraigned in the Eastern Hampshire District Court on December 19th.
Amherst Police, who were assisted by Amherst Fire, UMass Police and Massachusetts State Police on Friday, arrested the following:
- Alyssa Johnson-Kurts, 22 years old of Worcester, VT
- Marc S. Osten, 54 years old of Amherst, MA
- Harrison J. Greene, 30 years old of Northampton, MA
- Paxton Paul Reed, 19 years old of Osterville, MA
The protesters are targeting TD Bank in an effort to get the financial institution to pull their investment in the pipeline project. This is not the first such protest that has taken place in the area. Last week, demonstrators conducted a “teach-in” outside the bank’s branch on Main Street in Northampton. The same Amherst branch was also picketed on December 5.
The Dakota Access Pipeline is a more than 1,000 mile-long underground pipeline project, which is set to run from oil fields in North Dakota all the way to Patoka, Illinois. It has drawn international attention in recent months, due to the proximity of construction to the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. Protestors at the reservation have expressed concerns that the pipeline could threaten the safety of the drinking water supply, and say that the pipeline passes through sacred lands.
The Army Corps of Engineers has denied an easement request in this controversial portion of the pipeline route, and alternate routes for the pipeline could be considered.