CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Protesters from the Rainforest Action Network were arrested after climbing Bank of America Stadium and hanging a large banner Wednesday morning.
The group hung a 70-foot by 25-foot banner off of the stadium that reads: Bank of Coal. The group said they hung the banner because Bank of America has pumped $6.74 billion into the U.S. coal industry, according to Bloomberg data.
Five people were taken into custody after Charlotte-Mecklenburg police and fire personnel responded around 7:15 a.m. and removed the banner. Professional climbers scaled the scaffolding in the dark on Wednesday, and security at the stadium notified police.
Bank of America is funding every part of the coal process in the coal industry, said protester Sam Maron, who was taken into custody Wednesday. It's destroying our country, it's destroying our communities and our environment and it needs to stop.
The group hung the banner just days before BofA's annual shareholder meeting. The act was intended to call attention to the bank s role as the leading financier of the coal industry, according to the group.
All five protesters were charged with misdemeanor breaking and entering and none are from North Carolina. In addition to Maron, Benjamin Kessler, Robert Dwayne Diesu, Stephanie Taylor and Aleythea Dolstad-Lown were arrested.
Protestors say coal is making people ill, causing asthma and global warming.
The Bank of America Stadium is where President Obama will accept the Democratic Party's nomination to a second term in early September, and, to many, symbolizes the cozy relationship between banks and government highlighted throughout the Occupy protests, the group said in a statement.
The Rainforest Action Network group claims coal burning is responsible for one-third of U.S. carbon emissions the main contributor to climate change but it is also a major public health risk.
Bank of America had no comment about the banner, coal investments, dollar amounts or health claims by the Rainforest Action Network. Protestors also plan to be at Thursday s Duke Energy's shareholders' meeting and Bank of America's shareholder meeting on May 9.
Both have been designated extraordinary events, meaning police have expanded powers banning noxious substances and prohibiting backpacks if police think they're carrying harmful items.
The city approved the measure earlier this year to make the city safer for the upcoming Democratic National Convention.
Protestors think this is the wrong use.
There's nothing extraordinary about a stockholder's meeting. They have them every day all over the country, said NAACP Chapter President Kojo Nantambu. It makes it an event you have identified that you don't want the normal operation of the normal engagement of the public.
Organizers say the protests will be peaceful.