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Calls for NYC to Divest from Wells Fargo Increase

An all-night campout in downtown Manhattan called for NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio to divest from Wells Fargo and other financial institutions supporting DAPL.
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Though New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has indicated he’s considering withdrawing municipal pension funds from banks financing the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), he has not yet pulled the trigger. To help encourage him, last week the American Indian Law Alliance, American Indian Community House and the New York Communities for Change organized an all-night camp out in front of the Wells Fargo Broadway branch in Lower Manhattan.

The overnight demonstration was staged to call on de Blasio and City Comptroller Scott Stringer to end New York City’s pension fund investments and business with Wells Fargo Bank, one of the major investors in DAPL. The gathering drew hundreds of visitors who stopped by during the early-morning hours to bring food and offer support to the protesters.

Dozens of local police kept an eye on the peaceful protesters demanding that New York City pull funds out of Wells Fargo and other institutions supporting the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Dozens of Local Police kept an eye on the peaceful protesters demanding that New York City pull funds out of Wells Fargo and other institutions supporting DAPL.

If de Blasio were to withdraw the funds, he would put New York City in good company. Seattle was the first to pull out of Wells Fargo, earlier this year, and more recently San Francisco began proceedings to take its money out of the bank. The movement has reached beyond U.S. borders, all the way to Europe, with a major Norwegian investor pulling its own money out of Wells Fargo and other institutions. To date, more than $5 billion has been withdrawn from various companies related to the pipeline.

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Municipalities and businesses are blanching at what many see as a blatant disregard for human rights in the response of militarized police facing down unarmed water protectors during the last few months of 2016 and in early 2017. North Dakota National Guardsmen, Morton County police and private security employed by Energy Transfer Partners bombarded water protectors with tear gas, rubber bullets, water cannons in subfreezing temperatures, and other weapons during the months-long standoff, an attempt to keep the pipeline from being dug under the Missouri River at Lake Oahe. In particular, the NoDAPL movement objected to the routing of the pipeline a half-mile from the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, through lands ostensibly protected by treaty. Issues of environmental justice came to the fore after it emerged that the 1,172-mile-long, $3.8 billion project had originally been slated to cross the waterway north of the more affluent Bismarck.

The overnight encampment ended on Thursday April 6 as those involved marched to City Hall and held a rally, the Observer reported.

“We’re starting to use our individual power and that includes the power of the dollar,” said feminist icon Gloria Steinem, speaking to the crowd, according to the Observer. “We are no more going to give our votes or our dollars to those who don’t represent our democracy. So we call on the comptroller, we call on the mayor, we call on each other to take our dollars out of all the banks that support the Standing Rock Pipeline or any other death-bringing measures.”

Groups opposing NYC investment in DAPL begin gathering in front of Wells Fargo.

Groups opposing NYC investment in DAPL begin gathering in front of Wells Fargo.

Young water protector Aru Apaza shares some of her DAPL stories during her time at Standing Rock.

Young water protector Aru Apaza shares some of her DAPL stories during her time at Standing Rock.

Campers on the sidewalk not a normal site on Broadway as a group opposing DAPL gathered to push New York City Mayor Bill DiBlasio to pull funds from Wells Fargo and other institutions supporting the controversial pipeline.

Campers on the sidewalk not a normal site on Broadway as a group opposing DAPL gathered to push New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to pull funds from Wells Fargo and other institutions supporting the controversial pipeline.