On Sunday, during the Minnesota Vikings vs. Chicago Bears game at the U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, two Dakota Access Pipeline protestors unfurled a banner against the bank’s involvement in the controversial pipeline. The two protestors rappelled from rafters to unfurl a banner that read “Divest #NoDAPL” below a U.S. Bank logo.
— Carlos Gonzalez (@CarlosGphoto) January 1, 2017
Protestors Karl Zimmerman and Sen Holiday hung the banner during the game’s second quarter and suspended themselves about 100 ft above the crowd in seated positions. As a precaution, the Stadium’s staff removed fans seated in the section below the individuals. The game was not interrupted by the aerial stunt and Zimmerman, in a Vikings Brett Favre jersey, Holiday, and the banner remained above the crowd for the remainder of the game. In a statement, the operators of the U.S. Bank Stadium, SMG, said they believe the “two individuals appear(ed) to have climbed over a guard rail to access the ridge truss.”
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Once the game ended, the protestors willingly climbed back up their ropes and surrendered to law enforcement. The crowd that remained to watch the incident unfold reportedly booed the protestors as they turned themselves in. Zimmerman and Holiday were arrested and are being charged with misdemeanor burglary and trespassing charges. A third person, Carolyn Feldman, is also being charged with misdemeanor obstruction charges, though her exact involvement in the incident has not been disclosed.
SMG released a statement on Sunday on behalf of all the partners at U.S. Bank Stadium that stated, “We are continuing to work with the Minneapolis police department and all U.S. Bank Stadium partners on the investigation of the protest incident at U.S. Bank Stadium this afternoon. Law enforcement officials safely removed the individuals from the ridge truss, taking them into custody at the conclusion of the game. It is our intent to prosecute these individuals to the fullest extent of the law.”
— Dallas Goldtooth (@dallasgoldtooth) January 1, 2017
The protestor’s banner hung in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe that has been opposed to the relocation of a oil pipeline that could possibly cause harm to water sources and Native American land in North Dakota.The pipeline would move oil from North Dakota through South Dakota and Iowa into Illinois. The stadium’s naming partner U.S. Bank is accused of being one of the Dakota Access Pipeline’s largest investors. After months of protests by Native Americans and supporters, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in early December denied a permit for the section of the pipeline planned to run beneath the Missouri River in North Dakota.
While suspended, Holiday posted this video in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe.
As for how the protestors managed to smuggle safety ropes and climbing gear into the stadium, SMG said they “will continue to work with the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, Minnesota Vikings, Monterrey Security and local law enforcement to understand how this occurred and to ensure it does not happen again.”