WATERVILLE — Community members and Colby College students gathered Saturday morning in front of the TD Bank branch on Main Street in Waterville to try to persuade the bank to divest itself of its interest in the Dakota Access pipeline.

The gathering was held in response to President Trump’s recent executive order that encourages the construction of the pipeline.

Activists, under the leadership of the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota nations, have protested the construction of the pipeline since April 1 in North Dakota. The original pipeline was set to run through Bismark, North Dakota. After the city objected, the plan was rerouted near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.

On Dec. 4, the Army Corps of Engineers delayed construction of the pipeline and announced the need for an additional environmental assessment.

However, that victory was nullified by the new president’s executive order. Water Protectors have stayed on-site and continue to block the pipeline’s construction under Lake Oahe, the tribe’s water supply.

Waterville community members and the students of Colby College said they have made a commitment to stand in solidarity with Standing Rock, according to a news release from Colby College student Ester Topolarova, one of the organizers.


More than 100 people have attended two vigils held at the Universalist Unitarian Church to support Standing Rock, the release said.

The release said the demonstration in front of TD Bank was held because the bank has lent $365 million for the construction of the pipeline, which would stretch 1,172 miles and carry more than 500,000 gallons daily of crude oil.

The demonstrators hope that TD Bank considers divesting from the pipeline to make the construction more difficult, the release said.

The gathering of students and community members, who chanted, sang and carried signs with messages such as “Water is Life” was intended to draw attention to the dangers of the Dakota Access Pipeline for the native communities as well as its effect on climate change, the release said.

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