EcoWatch is out with a photo essay that captures the escalation in the police response to the blockade against Energy Transfer Partners’ proposed Dakota Access Pipeline.
On Saturday, Greenpeace USA Executive Director Annie Leonard recounted the latest conflict between 2,000 water protectors and the Morton County Sheriff Department and other law enforcement, in which 141 people were arrested.
Dakota Access “is a direct threat to the life, rights, and water of the Standing Rock Sioux. It is unconscionable that a militarized force was deployed to serve a massive pipeline to move dirty, fracked oil that would threaten our climate and the life-sustaining water of the Missouri River,” Leonard writes.
“And, despite law enforcement’s effort to jam video feeds coming out of the camps today, seeing those forces moving against Indigenous people will only galvanize the public rejection of the Dakota Access Pipeline and all it stands for.”
In Houston, meanwhile, Phillips 66 CEO Greg Garland predicted the consortium building the project will soon receive approval to complete construction. “There’s not that much left to be finished once we get the easement to go underneath the Missouri River,” he told analysts on a conference call. “So I think that can be wrapped up in relatively short order.” Phillips owns 25% of the DAPL project.
Bold Nebraska published a detailed account of an attack in which more than 300 police officers from five states attacked a protest camp with batons, pepper spray, mace, percussion grenades, tasers, shotguns, and a sound cannon. The article describes the camp as “a reclamation of unceded Lakota territory affirmed as part of the Standing Rock Reservation in the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851.”
“Law enforcement is supposed to serve and protect the people, not corporate interests,” said Tara Houska of Honor the Earth. “Police enacted violence on people who were armed only with prayer. I saw an officer raise his gun to my face and was pulled back by another protector just as a beanbag round ricocheted off a trailer next to my head. As that was happening, several teenagers a few feet away were maced as some police officers smiled and laughed. The original peoples of this country have rights,” but “yesterday we were treated like animals for the benefit of Dakota Access. Construction resumed as night fell.”
Think Progress was one of many online outlets to pick up on a stark contrast Friday, on news that leaders of a heavily-armed, 41-day occupation of a federal bird sanctuary in Oregon had been acquitted of all charges.
“Comparisons have already been made between the gentle treatment of the Oregon occupiers and other protesters, particularly when those protesters are people of colour,” writes reporter Laurel Raymond. “The colliding events on Thursday drive home this contrast even more strongly. In one state, white armed occupiers were cleared of all charges. In another, primarily peaceful Native American activists were met with riot police, military vehicles, and pepper spray, and more than 100 were arrested.”
Ironically, Raymond adds, “the land that ranchers in Oregon say had been taken from them had, indeed, been taken from someone: The tribe that originally occupied it. Native people spent nearly 6,000 years occupying the land in southeast Oregon before being forced out in 1870 by settlers and, eventually, the federal government.”