Milwaukee-area supporters of the “water protectors,” Native American residents and allies camped near Standing Rock, North Dakota, to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline, rallied Thursday in front of the Wells Fargo Bank at Water Street and Wisconsin Avenue. Protesters are critical of Wells Fargo’s investment in the 1,170-mile, $3.7 billion oil pipeline.
The marchers then walked east on Wisconsin Avenue to the U.S. Federal Building and Courthouse, 517 E. Wisconsin. There they held a rally demanding that President Obama and the Army Corps of Engineers withdraw their eviction order for the camp, deny the easement needed for the pipeline to go under the Missouri River and order a full environmental impact statement for the pipeline.
The march and rally were part of a national day of action called by supporters of Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, including the local 350.org group. The 350 organization seeks to build a global grassroots climate movement to hold leaders accountable for “the realities of science and the principles of justice,” according to its website.
Bob Peterson, an organizer who participated in the march, said the president has the power to take action that would force the company to go elsewhere or abandon the pipeline. Peterson, who recently spent five days at Standing Rock, said he was impressed with the Standing Rock protesters’ commitment to nonviolence and expected local protesters to follow suit.