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Solidarity with Standing Rock: 8 arrested as protest of Dakota Access Pipeline reaches Utah

(Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

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SALT LAKE CITY — Protest of an oil pipeline in North Dakota spilled into Salt Lake City on Monday as dozens supporting the efforts of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe rallied outside the Wells Fargo building downtown.

The Utah group carried signs proclaiming "Oil kills, oil spills" and "We are here to protect water" as they met at the Gallivan Plaza. Eight people positioned themselves inside the building, sitting and chanting, until police eventually intervened.

Salt Lake police detective Cody Lougy confirmed that seven of the protesters were booked into Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of misdemeanor trespassing and failure to disperse, while one was cited and released.

Police did not release the names of the people arrested.

Protesters decried the bank for its support of the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline, which will move oil from North Dakota through South Dakota and Iowa into Illinois.

Demonstrators backing the tribe's fight to shut down the pipeline have been camped for months in North Dakota near the Missouri and Cannonball rivers. Arrests at the camp topped 400 in October, including 140 in a single day last week, according to the Associated Press.

The Standing Rock tribe has vocally opposed the pipeline, saying its construction threatens cultural artifacts and the tribe's drinking water supply. The tribe has turned to the federal courts in attempt to fight permits for the project.

Energy Transfer Partners, the Texas-based construction company that is building the line, disputes claims it is unsafe.

Salt Lake police detective Robert Ungricht said a group of protesters had a permit to protest in Gallivan Plaza from 9 to 11 a.m. It wasn't clear whether the eight people who entered the Wells Fargo building, which is private property, were part of that permitted group, he said.

Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski issued a statement Monday reaffirming her support of the Standing Rock tribe's push to halt construction until a full cultural and environmental review is completed.

At a news conference Tuesday, Biskupski and members of Utah's Native American community will declare November Native American Heritage Month in Salt Lake City.

"We must recognize the connection all tribes share with one another, and respect the significance all Native Americans place on ancestral territory, even when they are thousands of miles away," Biskupski said.

"Members of Native American tribes in Salt Lake City are rightfully concerned about the Dakota Pipeline's impact on sacred cultural sites, as well as climate-change issues caused by a new project devoted to more burning of fossil fuels," she said.

Contributing: Shara Park


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