The defence of the Missouri River against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) continues in North Dakota.
CNN reports, “At least 24 protesters have been arrested [today] since law enforcement Humvees and helicopters began to flood the area to break up a protester encampment near the pipeline’s path. Calling themselves ‘water protectors’, supporters of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe set up tents and teepees on the land, which they said belongs to the tribe under a 19-century treaty. As the standoff continued into Thursday afternoon, police deployed bean bag rounds and pepper spray gas and unleashed a high-pitched siren to disperse the crowd.”
The Associated Press highlights, “The confrontation marked a major escalation of a protest that has raged for months. Police and soldiers driving trucks, military Humvees and buses began the operation to clear the camp at midday and formed a horseshoe-like loop once they reached the camp, where about 200 protesters were awaiting them — some defiant and other praying.”
The camp that was raided by the police is located east of the main Sacred Stone and Cannonball camps.
To date, 269 people have been arrested since the blockade against pipeline construction was established in mid-August.
The Dakota Access Pipeline is being built by Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners and Calgary-based Enbridge Inc. (which owns a US$1.5 billion share in the pipeline). The pipeline could carry up to 570,000 barrels per day of fracked oil from North Dakota to Illinois. It would cross 200 waterways, including the Missouri River (which is upstream of Lake Oahe, the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s main source of drinking water), and the Mississippi River.
Mint Press reports, “About 3,000 people are assembled in the region, divided among five encampments, including three which are largely situated on reservation territory. The gathering of Native Americans representing almost 375 tribal nations and other non-Native American groups is unprecedented in modern history.”
On August 19, The Council of Canadians first expressed its solidarity with this mobilization. On September 5, our Chilliwack chapter participated in a solidarity rally. On September 9, I was at a rally outside the US Embassy in Ottawa. On September 12, Vancouver-based organizers Harjap Grewal and AJ Klein along with water campaigner Emma Lui were at Indigenous-led actions to draw attention to TD Securities investments in the pipeline. And on September 16, our Regina chapter joined with Colonialism No More for a protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline.
As noted in the CNN report, “a high-pitched siren” was deployed today to disperse the crowd. The Seattle Times adds, “Law enforcement officials have deployed Long Range Acoustic Devices (LRAD), which make piercing noises.” LRADs were also deployed at the G20 summit in Toronto in June 2010. The Council of Canadians distributed free ear plugs to people at that time, and we are now in the process of sending 1,000 ear plugs to the water protectors now mobilized on the ground in North Dakota.
#RezpectOurWater #NoDAPL #DakotaAccessPipeline