Early on the morning of the 19th of March, protesters with Tar Sands Blockade Solidarity entered the TD Bank at 15th and P streets and locked down to a trash can filled with concrete.
Two protesters were locked by their arms to the concreted trash can weighing hundreds of pounds. It took five cops to move it when everything was all over. A third protester was locked down with chains which were cut by the cops. The 24 hour ATM was shut down from about 4:30AM until nearly 8 AM.
TD Bank is one of the largest investors in the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline and is profiting on the blood of indigenous people killed by cancer from polluted water in Alberta, Canada.
As in investor in tar sands, TD Bank is now getting the same treatment the pipeline construction itself has been met with.
I have never once heard of a barrel blockade inside DC until now, this is the first one I’ve ever seen. Police showed up with a heavy rescue truck to try and get them out.
The cops taped white sheets to the windows to conceal any misbehavior on their part and to cut off locked down protesters from their support. They blocked off P street, creating what in New York would be an illegal “frozen zone.”
Outside, cops brought out a electic chisel drill to cut through the concrete, only to realize it would take all day to cut that much concrete with it. Next came a gas powered rotary chop saw with a smoky 2-stroke engine.
Inside, police hooded the protesters like detainees at Guantanimo Bay and threatened to use the chop saw to cut them out, at considerable risk or serious injuries. In addition, the concrete dust would have destroyed the ATM. This being so, police claimed that they would file charges for destruction of property, even though lawyers said it would never stick as police action would be the source of the damage.
At that point, the concrete would not have held more than another half hour, and the cops then told protesters they could unlock and leave without being arrested, and this offer was accepted.
There is a report that TD Bank did not want arrests due to the bad publicity, and they certsinly didn’t want an ATM costing hundreds of thousands of dollars destroyed by concrete dust from a police chopsaw!