Protestors we part of an international movement Thursday. Their presence shut down an Ithaca branch of Chase bank.
“Ask them to divest from fossil fuels what we’re calling ecocide, the destruction of large areas of the environment. And also the violation of indigenous peoples’ rights," said Todd Saddler, Protester.
The indigenous people are the Wet'suwet'en. They say a pipeline is planned to be built through their territory, funded by Chase bank. Wednesday a protest was held blocking South Cayuga and East Green Streets. Police redirected traffic around the demonstration.
“There was a woman who’s an Uber driver, she’s like, ‘I’ve got six kids and if I don’t work they won’t eat.’ I’m like, ‘Yeah and your kids are going to grow up one day and we’re concerned about the world they’re going to grow up into,’" said Saddler.
"Blocking Green Street, maybe some people don't realize it is a major thoroughfare for emergency vehicles. IFD if they're responding from downtown for example or Bang's ambulance or us," said Ithaca Police Chief Vincent Monticello.
A Thursday protest shut down the Chase bank branch. After requests from police to leave, the protestors refused, and were arrested.
“We don’t want to cause trouble for anybody we don’t want to feel like anybody feels hated on by us but we have to do something to get everybody's attention and we all have to start moving in a different direction," said Saddler.
Demonstrators say shaking up the status quo like they have the last 2 days in downtown is the best way to get their voice heard. But Ithaca Police say there are safer ways to do it.
“There’s ways of protesting without causing major disruptions to public safety or disruptions to an individual or a business that has a right to do business. They have rights as well," said Monticello.
12 were arrested at the Chase bank on Thursday. The four minors arrested were released to their parents. The eight adults were charged with criminal trespassing. They will be arraigned in Ithaca City Court on February 26.
February 13 and 14 are Global Divestment days, designed to draw attention to divesting from fossil fuels.