Rochester Protesters Plan Demonstration against Dakota Access Pipeline
Concerns over the Dakota Access Pipeline and tense clashes between protesters and police in North Dakota have inspired a Rochester woman to organize a local protest this weekend.
Athesia Benjamin, an art professor at Monroe Community College, says her goal is to educate people, not to disrupt traffic or business.
"It's going to be enough for them to see that people have taken time out of their day to gather and to stand, and to sign, and to chant because of this issue,” Benjamin said. “Hopefully, that will cause them to bring up their phones and go on the computer and do a little search for themselves."
Saturday's demonstration at the Liberty Pole is planned for 3 p.m. As of Thursday morning, 129 people had signed up for the event, but Benjamin believes the issues surrounding the pipeline haven’t gotten the kind of media attention they deserve.
"You would think that everyone would know the hashtag #NODAPL, No Dakota Pipeline, but with so much coverage with this embarrassment of an election, this story is being pushed to the sidelines and it's not getting the coverage that it should."
Opponents of the pipeline are concerned about the environmental risks of the project and the damage pipeline construction could do to Native American sites. The pipeline is intended to carry crude from western North Dakota almost 12,000 miles to a shipping point in Illinois.