Thursday, December 1st 2016, Indigenous and climate justice activists in London gathered outside the Royal Bank of Scotland to hold a solidarity action with Indigenous People in Standing Rock. The creative intervention was part of an international day of action, targeting the banks that are financing the Dakota Access Pipeline in the US.
“This peaceful action in London is an opportunity to show that geographical distance does not change what we know to be right, and what is right is to protect the sacred ground and the water rights of the approximate 18 million people who are downstream from construction.” said UK based Mohawk/Comanche/Apache activist Kiaza BigMountain Fillmore “I encourage any UK banks that are invested in or financing projects associated with the Dakota Access Pipeline to divest from this project that puts millions of people at risk. The world has seen that the Morton County Sheriff’s Department has no hesitation when it comes to inflicting horrendous and uncalled-for violence on peaceful, prayerful people.”
People created a collective sculpture to understand the relationship between the Dakota Access Pipeline, UK financing, and to connect the women on the frontlines of the struggle to protect water to the fight for access to essentials for women in the UK.
“Sisters Uncut took a stand today with the women and children on the frontline at Standing Rock, who are fighting for water and are being subjected to violence and discrimination at the hands of extraction and mining. We recognise that Indigenous women are leading this fight to keep fossil fuels in the ground and to protect the water for future generations, that is so powerful. We see how stopping the Dakota Access Pipeline is also a fight for the safety and lives of women and children and we will not look away from what is happening, we stand with you!” said Anjali Sharma from Sisters Uncut.
Despite threats of eviction at the camp on 5 December, the the Standing Rock Sioux tribe say they will continue the peaceful presence until the Dakota Access Pipeline has been halted. The Standing Rock camp called for actions across the world to target the banks and other financial institutions who are providing finance for the pipeline. A statement issued from the camp said “We are calling for direct actions, demonstrations and other disruptions targeting the banks behind the pipeline. We also ask that people use this date to close their accounts with these banks.”
The Standing Rock camp in the USA has been in operation since April 2016 and has been the subject of international controversy following heavy handed attempts to clear the camp using tear gas, water cannons and pepper spray. The Standing Rock Sioux, supported by the thousands of people who have taken part in the camp, are protecting their legal treaty rights to the land as entitled indigenous people. The pipeline construction has already desecrated a series of sacred sites.
In the UK financial institutions with links to the Dakota Access Pipeline include include Barclays, HSBC, RBS, and ICBC London. “Those of us watching what is happening in Dakota to the peaceful water protectors are horrified to see the violence against Indigenous People defending their traditional territories from an illegal pipeline” said Suzanne Dhaliwal, director of UK Tar Sands Network who organised the action with Sacred Stone Camp Solidarity Network in the the UK. “We are responding to the global call to stand with Standing Rock, to demand President Obama stop the Dakota Access Pipeline and we will continue to take action as part of this global movement to cut off the source of the funding to the ‘Black Snake.”
Actions are set to take place across the UK and globally – follow @NoTarSands for updates
For High Quality Images and Video and Interviews with Kiaza BigMountain Fillmore
Media Contact – Suzanne Dhaliwal – UK Tar Sands Network
Sacred Stone Camp UK Solidarity Network Contact: Jennifer Huseman, +447817735876, firstname.lastname@example.org