Military-Style Raid Ends Native Prayer Against Dakota Pipeline
Up to 21 people were arrested during a peaceful prayer service.
TeleSurv TV, September 28, 2016
North Dakota police with military-style equipment surrounded Native Americans gathered in prayer against the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline on Wednesday, disrupting their plan to cross sacred and treaty-protected land in protest of a project they fear will destroy their livelihood.
“ND authorities deploy armed personnel with shotguns and assault rifles, military vehicles, and aerial spray on peaceful Water Protectors gathered in prayer,” wrote the Sacred Stone Camp, the main tribal-led encampment against construction, in a Facebook post.
Officers with military-style armored vehicles and shotguns threatened the protesters, who call themselves “water protectors” for defending the Missouri River from imminent pollution, reported Unicorn Riot. Up to 21 were arrested, the channel reported.
Witnesses filmed the crackdown but said their access their Facebook was blocked. One participant, Thomas H. Joseph II, posted a chilling video narrating the mobilization and his getaway. Helicopters are heard as he says that tear gas is being dropped, and an officer loads his gun as protesters, some on horseback, chant, “We have no guns.”
In the video, Joseph said that “one guy’s about ready to blast us” but later added that no fires were shot.
“We gathered in prayer un-armed, prayed, sang songs, and attempted to leave,” he later wrote in a Facebook post. “No threats, No vandalism, No violence was taken on our part.”
Police and private security personnel have been more aggressively cracking down on actions against the pipeline since the governor declared a state of emergency. The state is currently investigating an incident in which contracted private security film Frost Kennels unleashed dogs during a nonviolent direct action, ending with six bitten, including a pregnant woman and a child, according to organizers at the action.
Alternative media outlet Unicorn Riot previously accused Facebook of censoring its livestream of police repression, saying they received a popup security alert when they tried to post the video.
“We will not let them stop our mission to amplify the voices of people who might otherwise go unheard, and broadcast the stories that might otherwise go untold,“ they told RT.
The pipeline, expected to transport over half a million barrels of oil a day through four states, has united over 300 tribes in resistance. Several lawsuits are pending against the company, which has retaliated with restraining orders. The White House halted construction on federal land, which makes up three percent of the pipeline’s path, but has not issued any other statement against the pipeline—motivating Facebook users to demand a response after Wednesday’s crackdown.
President Barack Obama met with tribal representatives on Monday but only made an indirect reference to the historic native gathering: “I know that many of you have come together across tribes and across the country to support the community at Standing Rock,“ he said. “And together, you’re making your voices heard.“
21 Dakota Access Pipeline Protesters Arrested
MANDAN, N.D. (Valley News Live) Law enforcement officers assigned to the Dakota Access Pipeline protest arrested 21 protesters at two construction sites along the DAPL south and west of St. Anthony.
Officers arrested the protesters for various crimes including resisting arrest, criminal trespass on private property and possession of stolen property.
When officers responded they witnessed numerous people and horses on private property.
Due to the current threat to public safety, law enforcement responded with specialized equipment and weapons to include armored vehicles and less lethal ammunition using bean-bag rounds.
A protester on horseback charged at an officer in what was viewed as an act of aggression.
The officer responded by raising his weapon.
Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier says, “Our officers are trained to respond to the threats they perceive and to take appropriate action. A charging horse combined with totality of the situation presented an imminent threat to the officer.”
With continued illegal activity in the area, Sheriff Kirchmeier has increased patrols and visibility in southern Morton County.
“The safety of our citizens is paramount. Our number one priority is and always will be public safety for the residents of Morton County and our visitors,” said Kirchmeier.
Police say there were reports today of an airplane flying over the protesters and dropping mustard or tear gas.
Investigations into this rumor determined it was a crop duster spraying a field.
Tow trucks were called to transport 5 impounded vehicles.
After today’s arrests, there have been 95 arrested for protest activities since the start of the Dakota Access Pipeline protests.