ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Protesters rally at guarded Wells Fargo bank, federal building

BISMARCK--The streets of downtown Bismarck were closed briefly Thursday for Dakota Access Pipeline demonstrators who held signs and chanted for clean water outside the Wells Fargo branch offices and the William L. Guy Federal Building.

Dakota Access Pipeline protesters form a circle to sing, pray and demonstrate at a Wells Fargo Bank branch on Fifth Street and Rosser Avenue in downtown Bismarck on Thursday. Photo by Mike McCleary / Bismarck Tribune
Dakota Access Pipeline protesters form a circle to sing, pray and demonstrate at a Wells Fargo Bank branch on Fifth Street and Rosser Avenue in downtown Bismarck on Thursday. Photo by Mike McCleary / Bismarck Tribune

BISMARCK-The streets of downtown Bismarck were closed briefly Thursday for Dakota Access Pipeline demonstrators who held signs and chanted for clean water outside the Wells Fargo branch offices and the William L. Guy Federal Building.

A group of about 150 protesters arrived at the intersection of North Fourth Street and Main Avenue around 11:30 a.m. to find a large number of law enforcement officers guarding the Wells Fargo building on East Broadway Avenue.

Employees at Wells Fargo and other downtown businesses watched as protesters walked up to the police line. One protester plopped down on the sidewalk in front of the officers with a book. She was joined by several others, who formed a circle and sang.

Protesters said they came to Wells Fargo because it was one of the banks funding the $3.7 billion pipeline.

A total of eight people were arrested Thursday in connection to the protests, according to the Bismarck Police Department.

ADVERTISEMENT

Two people were arrested outside Wells Fargo. One man had a warrant in California, according to police, and another man was initially arrested for criminal mischief.

Sgt. Mark Buschena said the man was tampering with a flower pot belonging to a nearby business. When police tried to arrest him, he began kicking and spitting. A spit sock was placed on his head.

Buschena said, while the protester was being carried to a squad car, he allegedly grabbed the holster of officer's weapon and was yanking on it. He was arrested for criminal mischief, resisting arrest, assault on a police officer and attempting to disarm a police officer. He was taken to the hospital to be checked then to Burleigh County Detention Center.

Protesters continued down North Fourth Street, and, once they reached East Rosser Avenue, they split into two groups, each going the opposite way. One headed to another Wells Fargo branch building and the other headed to the Federal Building.

Once they arrived at the Federal Building, six people went inside while the rest hung back outside the front entrance. Police said the six people were arrested for criminal trespass.

Protesters were outside the Federal Building appealing for President Barack Obama to stop the pipeline.

"We're here to get Obama's attention to call him out to meet with us ... for this issue with DAPL," said Mia Sage Stevens, a protest organizer with the International Indigenous Youth Council.

The two groups eventually reconvened at the Federal Building, then headed back to Wells Fargo. The protests ended around 1 p.m.

ADVERTISEMENT

"For Red Fawn!"

Another demonstration was held outside the Morton County jail and courthouse Thursday afternoon for a female protester charged with attempted murder.

Red Fawn Fallis, 37, of Denver, was arrested Oct. 27 for allegedly firing three shots at police. She was arrested the same day law enforcement cleared protesters from private property at the "front line" camp, or north camp, on Highway 1806.

Around 1:15 p.m., protesters arrived in Mandan. Police, again, secured the entrance of the Wells Fargo building there. Instead, the protesters walked to the courthouse then circled around to the jail.

"Free Red Fawn! Free Red Fawn" they cried out. Some carried signs with that saying.

"The day of her arrest, she was actually helping us," said Roy Murphy, of Washington, explaining Fallis helped transport people who were maced and shot by rubber and bean bag bullets to medics.

Murphy spoke to the group of protesters in front of the jail, calling Fallis' incarceration unjust.

"For Red Fawn!" he shouted then lead the group down the sidewalk.

ADVERTISEMENT

"She can hear us," Murphy said. "She's been praying. She knows we're here."

After 2 p.m., an officer, on a microphone, told protesters "the three minutes we agreed upon is over. If you do not disperse immediately, you are subject to arrest."

The protesters left shortly after, but not before Stevens, a protest organizer with the International Indigenous Youth Council, spoke about Fallis, who she called her "sister."

"(Fallis) doesn't have to do the 20 years for us," said Stevens, who indicated she had grown up with Fallis, and asked that any protesters who witnessed her arrest step up.

Stevens said she and other protesters are looking for attorneys for Fallis and gathering all the information they can.

Fallis had her initial appearance on Oct. 31, where her bond was set at $100,000 cash. She faces a maximum of 20 years in prison.

An unidentified Dakota Access Pipeline protester leaves a trail of burning sage smoke as she walks past a row of law enforcement personnel standing guard in front of the William L. Guy Federal Building in downtown Bismarck on Thursday. Photo by Bismarck Tribune
An unidentified Dakota Access Pipeline protester leaves a trail of burning sage smoke as she walks past a row of law enforcement personnel standing guard in front of the William L. Guy Federal Building in downtown Bismarck on Thursday. Photo by Bismarck Tribune

Related Topics: PIPELINE PROTESTS
What To Read Next
With HB 1205, Reps Mike Lefor and Vicky Steiner would prohibit "sexually explicit content" in public libraries. Facing an uphill battle, the pair remain united in their commitment to see it passed.
The North Dakota Highway Patrol is investigating the crash.
City accountant reports increases in oil impact, sales tax, hospitality tax and occupancy tax revenue during the Jan. 24 meeting, commission approves two policy amendments.
Testimony to the top House committee from a convicted attendee of the Jan. 6 rally focused on the "inhumane" treatment of Jan. 6 defendants. The committee rejected a resolution on the matter 12-0.