The latest scandal linked to the Dakota Access Pipeline depicts a group of 200 water protesters at Standing Rock gathered for what was going to be a prayerful, peaceful walk to the drill pad being fired at by Morton County Sheriff’s Department officers and the National Guard with pepper spray, and, reportedly, mace. The incident coincided with the holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. — the man who dedicated his life to non-violence.
Plus, three of the 200 protestors were arrested on the grounds of trespassing after they reportedly cut a razor wire fence and tampered with industrial lighting.
The situation escalated when the crowd got into a verbal conflict with militarized police wearing riot shields and military gear, and police started spraying people with mace. This was followed by police firing water bullets at the water protectors while they were singing and praying, after which some of the protestors needed medical assistance.
People staying in the camps state that police brought in vehicles with water cannons just beyond the scene. The video below shows police firing rubber bullets in the protesters’ backs as they are running away from the tear gas.
Just as a reminder, the Highway 1806’s Backwater Bridge gathering was accompanied by a blockade of cement barriers, burned out vehicles, and razor wire remains.
Over the past few months there have been a number of confrontations between the water protectors and police from multiple states led by the Morton County Sheriff’s Department. The most serious one occurred on the night of November 20, when the crowd was kept under control with the help of tear gas and water cannons.
The conflict resulted in hundreds of injured and dozens treated for hypothermia after protesters were sprayed with pressurized water in sub-freezing temperatures. In defense, police stated that these measures were only taken because the crowd acted violently against them and set several fires which got out of control. However, a video posted by one of the protesters shows that the opposition group is defending against the militant attack, and basically hurls tear gas canisters back at police.
This unjustified use of force was again demonstrated on Monday night, when peaceful water protectors were maced and a few shot with projectiles.
This was caught on camera by those directly involved in the conflict on the camps near Cannon Ball, North Dakota. Also, the activists filmed and photographed a surface-to-air missile system brought by police near pipeline opposition camps for the purpose of taking down any drones flown above the scene.
Although evacuation and emergency orders have been issued in the area, water protectors remain based in camps near the Missouri River to oppose the completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Oceti Sakowin, the main and largest camp positioned in the river’s floodplain runs the risk of being submerged as snow thaws.
However, the activists have sworn not to leave the location until the construction of Dakota Access is stopped for good.
However, with today’s inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump things may not develop as expected taken that the President’s administration has openly courted Big Oil.