STAMFORD, Conn. — Chanting “The People United Will Never Be Divided,” about a dozen people stood in front of HSBC Bank in Stamford on Friday afternoon to protest the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Holding up handmade signs with messages such as "Stop the Dakota Access Pipeline" and "Keep Our Water Clean," the group, which called itself "Stamford Stands With Standing Rock,” marched back and forth among six banks near Broad and Atlantic streets in downtown Stamford.
Leading the Stamford march was Norwalk resident Jessica Kurose.
“This is a battle against the Dakota Access Pipeline — it's between Native American tribes and environmentalist on one side and big oil companies and big banks on the other," she said. "If we all stand up together, we have a lot more power. The situation with DAPL is coming down to the wire and Standing Rock needs our support."
As the protesters marched, drivers honked to show their support while pedestrians cheered and smiled.
The Dakota Access Pipeline, or DAPL, is an underground pipeline designed to transport crude oil from the Bakken fields of North Dakota to a distribution center in Patoka, Ill. Part of it will be built near the reservation of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, which says the pipeline will harm the environment.
Kurose said the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is at the center of the battle to stop the current drilling under the Missouri River, which supplies drinking water for the tribe and millions of others living downstream.
“The pipeline also runs through sacred and historical sites of the Sioux," she said.
During the Obama administration, construction on the pipeline had been halted. But recently, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to accelerate the project and construction had resumed. Protesters have set up camp in the construction area.
"The Dakota Access Pipeline has become a symbol of our fight against all pipelines and all dirty energy — coal and oil and fracking," Kurose said.
Her goal is to inform people of what's happening with the tribes in North Dakota and also to protest the banks that are funding the pipeline, which include Citibank, Chase and Citizens Bank.
"I've always fought for the environment, and it’s really just getting to a point where we need to take power into our own hands," Kurose said. "The government isn't making the changes we want, so we need to get out voices heard. We want to build awareness and alert our community to the gravity and importance of this issue."
The next local protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline will be March 10. For more information, click here .