Two Dakota Access Pipeline protesters climbed the rafters of a stadium and unfurled a banner calling for the U.S. Bank to stop funding the project during a football game on Sunday.
The pair, one of whom was wearing a Brett Favre jersey, clambered over a guardrail and managed to climb a built-in ladder leading to the high catwalk. They then hung from rappelling equipment alongside the banner during the first half of the Vikings vs. Chicago Bears match.
The banner included the U.S. Bank logo with the words “divest” and #NoDAPL written on it — a reference to the controversial oil pipeline which has been the subject of national debate and months-long protest by the Native American community.
The stadium in Minneapolis where the match took place is called U.S. Bank Stadium and is reportedly one of the major investors in the Dakota Access Pipeline, with tens of millions of dollars of loans active with the pipeline’s parent company.
Minneapolis police officers gave chase to the couple up the rafters but left the two hanging and the banner undisturbed till after the match was over and the stadium was emptied.
Karl Mayo, 32, and Sen Holiday, 26, were then arrested and booked into Hennepin County jail on burglary and trespassing misdemeanor charges.
They were evaluated by a physician. However, both were uninjured and refused medical treatment.
While the protesters were hanging, media outlets received a release from the protest organizers, featuring Holiday saying, “We are here in solidarity with water protectors from Standing Rock to urge U.S. Bank to divest from the Dakota Access Pipeline.”
The stadium’s highest point is the 27-foot prow and without any safety netting underneath them, the climbers risked falling to death.
NFL games are high security events and everyone is subjected to a search before they are allowed entry. It’s not yet understood how the two protesters were able to pass through metal detectors with their rappelling gear.
Police said they will meet with the stadium’s partners to find out how the two gained access to the stadium.
Banner/thumbnail credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports via Reuters