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      We Stand with Standing Rock!
      Another Dynamic 'Intersaction' Takes Over Downtown Vancouver

      By Thomas Davies

      Chants of “We Stand with Standing Rock!” rose above the usual loud downtown hum of cars and foot traffic as hundreds marched continuously for two hours at the busy intersection in front of the central branch of the TD Bank in downtown Vancouver. They only stopped to form a solid line for the entire block in front of the bank with banners, homemade signs and petitions demanding an immediate and permanent halt to construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). The distance between downtown Vancouver and the Sacred Stone Camp in North Dakota might be around 2200 kilometres, but the struggle against the DAPL feels immediate and close to home to thousands in Vancouver and around the world.

      The action was organized by the Climate Convergence coalition in Vancouver, which brings together grassroots organizations and individuals who are committed to organize for climate justice. The coalition had decided to organize at least one action a month against the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion, but an international period in solidarity with water protectors at Standing Rock was called and organizers responded quickly.

      The action was held in front of the TD Bank, which is a major investor in the Dakota Access Pipeline. Calls to “DeFund DAPL” have become increasingly organized and effective. Norway's largest bank, DNB, recently sold its assets in DAPL after a well organized public campaign and the delivery of 120,000 petition signatures. Seattle;s City Council voted to end its 3 billion a year banking relationship with Wells Fargo over its financing of DAPL after a similar public campaign.

      Organizers in Vancouver also set up an info table and distributed information regarding the struggle against the pipeline and how to get involved in the international campaign to stop its construction.

      The action was both open and closed by Gordon August, a hereditary Chief of the Sechelt Nation and an organizer with Climate Convergence. He sang, drummed and spoke about the importance of recognizing the rights of the indigenous nations on whose lands these pipeline projects are being forced upon without consent, and also the need for unity among all peoples to stop them once and for all.

      The campaign to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline has not stopped. March 10 is another International Day of Action. Indigenous nations and their allies will be converging on Washington, DC while groups around the world hold solidarity actions. Vancouver will definitely be among those taking to streets and bringing people to say, “From Standing Rock to BC, Make the Land Pipeline Free!”

      Follow Thomas Davies on Twitter: @thomasdavies59

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