Denver Police Search For Anti-Pipeline Vandals Who Attacked Local Bank Branch
Vandals who oppose the Dakota Access Pipeline smashed the windows of a local bank branch in a politically motivated attack that’s under investigation by Denver police.
The vandals targeted a Chase Bank branch at 1038 East 6th Avenue, throwing rocks at the windows and spray painting “No DAPL” on the front of the building, according to a police report obtained by Western Wire.
The incident took place late on the night of Feb. 23 or in the early hours of Feb. 24, only a few hours after environmental activists were evicted from protest camps in North Dakota aimed at stopping the Dakota Access Pipeline. The recently completed pipeline was staunchly opposed by environmental activists, who led a series of protests along the pipeline route and in cities across the country, including Denver. In North Dakota, the protests turned violent and hundreds of out-of-state activists were arrested.
A Denver police spokesman told Western Wire no arrests have been made in connection with the attack on the bank branch, but the incident remains under investigation.
Anti-pipeline protesters have targeted Chase Bank and other financial institutions for having investments in the company building the Dakota Access Pipeline, or for providing loans tied to the project. The activists have demanded the banks withdraw their support for the project and called for boycotts of the institutions that don’t meet their demands.
“We have to divest from these giant corporate banks that are invested in the Dakota Access pipeline, so that when that time comes for this pipeline to be put in the ground … they won’t be able to, because there’s no money invested,” actor and anti-pipeline protester Shailene Woodley, who was arrested last year during one of the North Dakota protests, said in January. “There’s like 19 large corporate banks that are invested in this pipeline,” Woodley said during an interview at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.
Last year, the Obama administration interceded on the side of the activists, halting construction of the pipeline even though the project was almost complete and had received all the necessary federal permits. After the election of President Donald Trump, the project’s permits were honored and the activists ordered to leave the main protest camp on the banks of the Missouri River, roughly 40 miles south of Bismarck, N.D.
The pipeline is now finished and should be fully operational later this month, the project developer said this week. Once it was clear the activists could not block the permits needed to complete the pipeline, they started to ramp up their campaign against financial institutions, according to American Banker magazine.
Less than two weeks before the Chase Bank branch in Denver was vandalized, a group of anti-pipeline protestors occupied the lobby of another bank just two miles away. According to Westword, the protestors forced their way past security guards and shut down the Wells Fargo branch for 30 minutes. They left when police warned the demonstrators they were about to be arrested.
“Your money is covered in oil and blood,” one of the activists said during the Feb. 10 protest, according to Westword. “We will be back!” he said.
When contacted by Western Wire, a representative from Chase Bank declined to comment.