At least 125 people were arrested for protesting the development of the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota - the largest number of arrests so far in a single day.
Turn on CNN or Fox News, and all you’re likely to hear about is the upcoming election between primary candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. While talk of the two has dominated media outlets, there’s a happening worthy of your attention that is receiving far less coverage.
Over the weekend, over 120 people were arrested near the development of the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota – the largest arrest since protests against its construction began several months ago. At around 5:20 A.M. on Saturday morning, a man woke up the resistance camp and said to those gathered,
“Wake up relatives. Wake up water protectors. Wake up land defenders. Time to wake up. Time to send our boys to the universe. Time to send our boys to the rising sun.”
After a prayer was held and the assembled were instructed to behave peacefully, a convoy set out. Vehicles drove up State Highway 1806 and parked along the road, then activists hiked toward wide-open prairie lands to meet with four other protestors who had chained themselves to construction equipment.
Josh Morgan of the Rapid City Journal writes that some of the protestors remained behind, but hundreds carried banners and signs speaking out against the development of the pipeline. They walked a few miles before they met police lines in an open field. Though the protectors remained calm, it was only a matter of time before the stone-faced and uncommunicative police began to advance on the activists.
The leaders of the group instructed those who were present to fall back and cooperate with the law enforcement workers. Minutes later, a voice rang out: “You’re all under arrest for trespassing.”
At this point, the police continued to advance on the hundreds of protestors, snatching stragglers, throwing them behind their lines, and pepper-spraying others in the face. Said Harmony Restoule, a young Ojibwe woman from Northern Ontario, Canada:
“It was all peaceful. And then the cops showed up. It was really scary when the police kicked into action.”
RT reports that in addition to arresting over 120 protestors, police gunned down two unmanned media drones with rubber bullets, claiming that “protesters attacked a helicopter with a drone,” and that the helicopter pilot and passengers were “in fear of their lives.”
Concerning the four activists who attached themselves to construction equipment, a police report relays that they were arrested after being found “attached to the vehicle; two attached to the outside of the vehicle, one attached to the steering wheel and another whose body was outside the vehicle with his arm fed through a hole in the door and his hand was in a bucket of hardened concrete.”
This past weekend’s protest was one of several high-profile demonstrations that have taken place in North Dakota. On September 3rd, police and private security forces pepper-sprayed protestors and used dogs to drive them away from construction equipment. And on October 10th, actress Shailene Woodley was arrested along with 20 others who were protesting the development of the pipeline. While activists maintain that their gatherings are peaceful, law enforcement workers have chalked up all activity to rioting behavior, stating that the protests are neither “peaceful or lawful.”
Though little coverage is being granted by mainstream media sources, activists continue to rally near Cannon Ball, North Dakota. Reportedly, there are thousands gathered from 200 tribes. They persevere through difficult conditions to ensure that the Missouri River is not contaminated – and you can assist their plight by sharing this article to raise awareness about the happenings taking place in North Dakota. Please comment your thoughts below.
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