For the love of God! Will someone do something to stop the horrendous abuse of Native people? How can those in power allow this to happen? Who uses water cannons on unarmed protesters in the freezing cold except rabid mad dogs?
Hypothermia fears among Dakota Access pipeline protesters as cops soak up to 400 with water cannons in freezing temperatures as tensions mount at Standing Rock reservation
Law enforcement officials in North Dakota have deployed tear gas and water hoses against hundreds of activists protesting against the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Protesters also reported being hit with rubber bullets and percussion grenades on a bridge just north of the encampments established by indigenous and environmental activists in opposition to the controversial pipeline.
“They were attacked with water cannons,” said LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, a Standing Rock Sioux tribe member and founder of the Sacred Stone camp. “It is 23 degrees [-5 °C] out there with mace, rubber bullets, pepper spray, etc. They are being trapped and attacked. Pray for my people.”
The Morton County Sheriffs Department described the incident as an “ongoing riot” and described the protestors as “very aggressive”. A spokesman for the sheriffs department said that law enforcement was spraying water because protesters were lighting fires on and around the bridge.
One person was arrested, according to the sheriffs department .
“As medical professionals, we are concerned for the real risk of loss of life due to severe hypothermia under these conditions,” the Standing Rock Medic & Healer Council said in a statement posted on Facebook.
One hundred sixty-seven people were injured and seven were taken to the hospital, according to Jade Begay, a spokeswoman for the Indigenous Environmental Network.
The incident is the latest violent clash between the unarmed anti-pipeline activists, who call themselves “water protectors”, and a highly militarized police force. More than 400 activists have been arrested since the protests began, and law enforcement has deployed pepper spray, teargas, rubber bullets, Tasers, sound weapons, and other “less-than-lethal” weapons.
Members of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe established the first of several “spiritual camps” on the banks of the Missouri River in April. The tribe fears that the pipeline, which is planned to cross under the river less than a mile from the Standing Rock Reservation, will threaten their water source and argue that construction has already disturbed sacred burial grounds.
Pipeline construction is almost completed in North Dakota, but the company building it, Energy Transfer Partners, still lacks a final permit to drill under the river. On Tuesday, 15 November, the company went to court seeking to have a judge force the government to allow it to begin drilling immediately.
Sunday’s standoff began around 6pm local time, when a group of about 100 protesters attempted to clear two burned trucks that were forming a barricade on the bridge, which is on the most direct route from the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation to Bismarck, North Dakota – the closest large city. The trucks have been in place for several weeks, and law enforcement has erected a barricade behind them, forcing all traffic to take an approximately 20-mile detour.