Police arrested 12 protesters yesterday morning on suspicion of trespassing after they allegedly refused to leave the lobby of the Financial District Citibank headquarters. The Chronicle reports that the group had gathered in opposition to the bank's funding of the Dakota Access Pipeline — a light sweet crude oil pipeline currently under construction that's slated to pass from North Dakota to Illinois and under the Missouri River on its way.
The pipeline has made national headlines following an ongoing protest by Native Americans and their allies in Standing Rock, North Dakota, on what the New York Times reports the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe considers to be sacred land. The protesters, who identify themselves as water protectors, are worried about the effect the pipeline would have on all those who depend on the Missouri river.
With the Times reporting that more than 400 protesters have been arrested over the course of the North Dakota demonstration, calls for solidarity have led to both an online response and a real world one. As SFPD made clear, yesterday's Citibank protest was very much the latter.
"We have given them the opportunity to leave," SFPD Captain David Lazar told ABC 7. "We've asked them three different times to leave the lobby they refused, so they accepted a citizen's arrest and now we're making [arrests] of 12 demonstrators."
Citibank is not the only institution funding the $3.8 billion pipeline project — Wells Fargo is also putting money toward it — however ABC 7 reports that Citibank is the largest single backer.
"I am here today because Indigenous friends and allies in North Dakota are literally risking life and limb to stop this pipeline," protester Christy Tennery-Spalding told the channel. "Oil companies and banks like Citigroup do not care about clean water and clean air of impacted communities. These companies only motivation is profit and we're here today to say, 'NO MORE!' "
According to KRON4, a group by the name of Diablo Rising Tide organized the protest. Officer Carlos Manfredi told the channel that the protesters were likely to be cited and then released.