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Protest At BofA Stadium Went 'Fantastically Well,' Spokeswoman For Demonstrators Says

Jeff Siner
Charlotte Observer
Protesters hang from cables attached to the upper level of the stadium during the Carolina Panthers vs Indianapolis Colts game on Mondya, November 2, 2015 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.

Charlotte Observer

A spokeswoman for the organization whose members rappelled down Bank of America Stadium Monday night to protest the bank’s financing of a natural gas facility said Tuesday that the demonstration was a success.

“We’ve gotten a fantastic amount of press,” said Kelly Canavan, spokeswoman for We Are Cove Point, which is opposed to the planned liquefied natural gas export facility in Cove Point, Md. “I think it went really fantastically well, and there’s not something I can think of that I would do differently.”

[4 arrested after protesters rappel from BofA Stadium during Panthers game.]

In an event that has made national headlines, a man and a woman wearing rappelling gear suspended themselves from the upper deck of the stadium during the game between the Carolina Panthers and the Indianapolis Colts. While suspended, the protesters dropped a banner that read “BoA: Dump Dominion, WeAreCovePoint.org” – a reference to Bank of America and Dominion Resources, which is building the natural gas facility.

A spokesperson for the Charlotte-based bank could not be reached for comment.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police charged four people with the same three misdemeanors of second-degree trespass, resisting a public officer and throwing or dropping objects at a sporting event. All four were given $1,500 bails.

Protesters Erica Madrid and Angela Vogel have been released from jail, while protesters David Baghdadi and John Nicholson were expected to be released soon, Canavan said shortly before 1 p.m.

Canavan on Tuesday described the four as being concerned “about the direct impacts that they will be facing if the project goes through.” She said Nicholson and Vogel live in Pennsylvania, Madrid lives in Washington, D.C., and Baghdadi lives in Western North Carolina.

Canavan said Nicholson is interested in helping people who are negatively impacted by fracking, a process in which liquid is injected into the ground at high pressure to extract oil or gas. Madrid is concerned about the negative economic impacts she worries the Cove Point project will have, Canavan said.

Baghdadi and Vogel share concerns about potential negative impacts that fracking and similar industries have on communities, Canavan said.

Canavan said the point of Monday’s demonstration was to call attention to Bank of America’s financing of the project during a nationally televised event and push the bank to stop funding it.

“There was nothing specific about the match-up,” she said. “It had nothing to do with feelings about one team or another. It was just an attempt to get a national audience.”

On its website, We Are Cove Point notes that the demonstration “was seen by the stadium audience of more than 70,000 people.”

“People are taking about it,” Canavan said. “People who seemingly have not thought about these issues before … have been going to our websites and reading about them, discussing them. And maybe not everyone is going to be rappelling off of an upper deck anytime soon, but the more people who find out about these things, the more likely we are to find folks who are active resisters to this project.”

A question that has emerged is how did the protesters get the rappelling gear into the stadium. A Panthers spokesman could not be reached for comment. Canavan said she doesn’t know the answer, either.

“Almost nobody knows that and, to be honest with you, I don’t know who does know besides them (the protesters).”