Photo by Michael B. Watkins/Whidbey News-Times Construction workers from WhidbeyHealth cross at State Highway 20 in Coupeville as protesters behind them protest the Dakota Access Pipeline stand outside Wells Fargo Bank in Coupeville last week. The group opposes the bank funding the pipeline project and the potential impact to the environment and native people’s land.

Group rallies in Coupeville in support of Sioux Tribe

More than 100 island residents converged on Coupeville Tuesday to rally in support of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s efforts to halt the Dakota Access pipeline.

Protestors traveled to Coupeville by bicycle and bus from as far as Clinton to take part in the demonstration, one of more than 200 “Day of Action” rallies across the country.

Demonstrators gathered on each of the four corners of State Highway 20 and Main Street to peacefully protest, at times chanting, “Embargo Wells Fargo.”

Wells Fargo is one of the 17 banks funding the Army Corps of Engineer’s pipeline project, according to Coupeville resident Lori Taylor, a lead organizer of the local demonstration.

Taylor said she coordinated with bank employees on Monday to let them know the group would be demonstrating outside. Sheexplained that the protest wasn’t about the individual employees, but rather Wells Fargo as a whole.

“We worked with them to ensure that we had a peaceful demonstration,” said Taylor. “We respect private property, and understand the employees are residents of the island too.”

One person did walk into the bank and photograph bank employees during the protest, which led to the sheriff and town marshal being called to ensure demonstrators did not venture on to private property, said Taylor.

If there was an Army Corps building on the island, protestors would demonstrated there instead, she said.

“I just think its wrong to be building all these pipelines and polluting the environment,” said Alice Goss, of Clinton.

The United States has broken treaties with Native Americans, who deserve better, said Goss.

Another idea came from Dennis Willson, who took the bus from Clinton.

“I think they should raise the price of gas to $10 a gallon, then more people would ride the bus,” Wilson said. “Then the government can use that revenue to buy more solar panels.”

More demonstrations may be held in Oak Harbor, Taylor said.

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