Mark Sullivan Telegram & Gazette Staff @mcnsullivan
WORCESTER — As two protesters who blockaded the doorway of TD Bank on Monday were arraigned Tuesday morning, environmental activists were planning a new protest at Bank of America Tuesday afternoon.
Activists are targeting banks that are investors in the proposed Dakota Access oil pipeline, which Native Americans and environmentalist allies seek to stop from crossing tribal lands in North Dakota.
Jennifer Burt, 31, of 144 Pleasant St., Worcester, and Kyle Schulz, 27, of 22 Castle St., Worcester, appeared before Judge Robert L. Pellegrini in Central District Court Tuesday on charges of trespassing and disorderly conduct.
The charges stemmed from their Monday protest at TD Bank, 370 Main St., when Ms. Burt and Mr. Schulz locked wrists inside a concrete device bolted to the bank’s front doors. It took firefighters 45 minutes to dislodge them using an air chisel.
A not guilty plea was entered on the defendants’ behalf, and they were released on their own recognizance under order to stay away from TD Bank properties. They are due back in court Dec. 23.
A press release announced a peaceful demonstration would be held at 1 p.m. Tuesday at the Bank of America, 365 Main St.
Organizers said the protest was planned as part of a “national day of action” against the Dakota Access Pipeline at Army Corps of Engineers offices and banks directly funding the pipeline. The Bank of America, like TD Bank, is an investor in the project.
According to The Associated Press, the $3.8 billion pipeline would carry North Dakota oil through South Dakota and Iowa to a shipping point in Illinois. The Standing Rock Sioux believe the pipeline, which will skirt the tribe’s reservation, threatens their drinking water and cultural sites.