ust yesterday (10/23), over 80 people were arrested in North Dakota after armed police invaded a protest near the Dakota Access Pipeline construction site. Emblematic of our history of imperialism and subjugation, this private construction company has hired armed guards (mercenaries) to assist them in neutralizing any threats.
According to the Morton County Sheriff’s department. The 83 water protesters were charged with various items such as rioting and criminal trespassing,
Kellie Berns, who was stuck in the back of the fence said she received reports of people being assaulted with pepper spray and thrown to the ground and described law enforcement as being more aggressive than in past incidents. She said protesters were surrounded by police officers if they tried getting close to the site.
“People came back very distressed,” she said of those who returned to the fence following the demonstration. “The pipeline is getting a lot closer, so the stakes are getting higher.”
Protests against DAPL have been ongoing for months, as the Standing Rock Sioux, along with other indigenous tribes and environmental activists, say the $3.8 billion, 1,100-mile pipeline threatens their access to clean water and violates Native American treaty rights.
Private Corporations vs Public Media
Last week, Democracy Now host Amy Goodman’s charges were dismissed after she turned herself into the police. An arrest warrant was i issued after Goodman’s crew videotaped a private security team hired by the pipeline company assaulting peaceful protesters with attack dogs and pepper spray. Also, filmmaker Deia Schlosberg faces up to 45 years in prison for reporting on the protests.
“This string of arrests constitutes nothing less than a war on journalism and a victory for fossil fuel interests that have banked on the pipeline,” Food and Water Watch executive director Wenonah Hauter said last week.
Saturday’s arrests follow reports of escalating police abuse at the protest sites, including beatings and unnecessary strip-searches of those arrested.
Construction on the pipeline is still going on, despite requests from the federal government. But it is obvious that corporate power undermines our governmental institutions.