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#NoDAPL protesters unfurl banner at NFL game

January 2, 2017

Two Dakota Access Pipeline protesters hung a banner from the rafters of the Minnesota Vikings' stadium during an NFL game. The stadium is sponsored by a bank that invests in the pipeline project.

USA | #NoDAPL Protest während des NFL-Spiels Chicago Bears vs Minnesota Vikings
Image: USA Today Sports/B. Hemmelgarn

A banner was temporarily added to the rafters of the U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota, during Sunday's game between the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears. Two protesters unfurled a banner during the second quarter of the game, calling for U.S. Bank to divest from the Dakota Access Pipeline. The banner read "US Bank, Divest, #NoDAPL."

Rows of seats underneath the banner were cleared as a precaution. Play was not interrupted. The protesters were about 100 feet (30 meters) above fans when they unfurled the banner. One protester wore a jersey of former Viking Brett Favre.

U.S. Bank Stadium operator SMG released a statement saying the two protesters had climbed over a guard rail to access the ridge truss and rappel down to unfurl the banner. The protesters climbed back up their ropes after the game and exited the stadium under police custody via the stairs. The two were arrested on trespassing charges, according to Minneapolis police spokesman Officer Corey Schmidt.

The pipeline project faced strong protests for months in North Dakota, with protesters saying constructing the pipeline at its current location would harm local drinking water and destroy land sacred to Native Americans. The federal government decided against the project. Energy Transfer Partners LP, which is building the pipeline, has gone to federal court for a permit to finish construction.

The pipeline would deliver oil from North Dakota to Illinois. Energy Transfer Partners LP did not have an immediate comment. U.S Bank spokesman Dana Ripley declined to comment on the issue, according to The Associated Press.

The Vikings won, 38-10.

kbd/kl (AP, Reuters)