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UPDATE, 5:57 a.m. EDT: According to Reuters: "Police arrested 141 Native Americans and other protesters in North Dakota in a tense standoff that spilled into Friday morning between law enforcement and demonstrators seeking to halt construction of a disputed oil pipeline. Police in riot gear used pepper spray and armored vehicles in an effort to disperse an estimated 330 protesters and clear a camp on private property, according to photos and statements released by the Morton County Sheriff's Department."
In Cannonball, North Dakota, more than 100 police with military equipment are advancing on a resistance camp established by Native American water protectors in the path of the proposed $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline. Photos and multiple videos posted to Facebook Live depict more than 100 officers in riot gear lined up across North Dakota's Highway 1806, flanked by multiple mine-resistant ambush protected military vehicles, a sound cannon, an armored truck and a bulldozer. There have also been reports from water protectors that the police presence includes multiple snipers. Police appear to be evicting the camp in order to clear the way for the Dakota Access pipeline company to continue construction—which was active at times on Thursday just behind the police line.
Cody Hall of Red Warrior Camp told Democracy Now! that behind the line of police, the Dakota Access pipeline company is carrying out construction with cranes and bulldozers on the sacred tribal burial site where on Sept. 3, unlicensed Dakota Access security guards unleashed dogs and pepper spray against Native Americans.
Water protectors have set up a blockade of the highway using cars, tires and fire. Elders are also leading prayer ceremonies.
Dallas Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network reported in a Facebook Live video posted Thursday just before 2 p.m. local time that police have begun arresting water protectors in the ongoing standoff.
Sacheen Seitcham of the West Coast Women Warrior Media Cooperative told Democracy Now! police have used tasers against water protectors and that she was hit with a concussion grenade.
The frontline camp sits directly in the proposed path of the Dakota Access pipeline on private property purchased recently by the Dakota Access pipeline company for $18 million. In establishing this frontline camp, water protectors cited an 1851 treaty, which they say makes the entire area unceded sovereign land under the control of the Sioux. Over the weekend, police arrested more than 120 people in a peaceful march to this site during which police deployed tear gas and used rubber bullets to shoot down drones the water protectors were using to document police activity.
Ahead of Thursday's apparent police raid, the Federal Aviation Administration also issued a temporary no-fly zone for the airspace above the resistance camps for all aircraft except for those used by law enforcement. This order means Native Americans can no longer fly drones to document police activity, but the police can continue to fly their surveillance drones and helicopters.
The apparent police raid of the resistance camp comes only minutes before Standing Rock Sioux youth flooded the Hillary Clinton campaign headquarters in New York City to demand Clinton oppose the Dakota Access pipeline.
"As a young person I want to know what the next four years are going to entail," said Garrett Hairychin. "Is Hillary going to be focused on protecting our land? I want to know if my younger family is going to be safe. Our present situation is in dire need of a leader that still remembers that our kids are here. We want to protect the future for the young ones that come after us. I'm here to support my family."
Reposted with permission from our media associate Democracy Now!
[Click here for the latest on the Dakota Access Pipeline: 141 Arrested During Police Raid of Camp Halting Construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.]
Actor Mark Ruffalo and Native Renewables founder Wahleah Johns presented Standing Rock Sioux tribal elders with mobile solar panels on trailers, bringing clean power to the protest encampment where the largest gathering of Native Americans in modern history is taking a stand against the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Jon WankThe Solutions Project
"This pipeline is a black snake that traverses four states and 200 waterways with fracked Bakken oil," said Ruffalo, co-founder of The Solutions Project, which works to accelerate the transition to 100 percent clean and renewable energy.
"We know from experience that pipelines leak, explode, pollute and poison land and water. But it doesn't have to be that way."
The solar trailers will provide clean energy to power medical tents and other critical facilities for Native American protesters and their allies at the encampment. The trailers symbolize a healthy, equitable, prosperous energy future made possible by clean renewable energy.
"Water is life," said Johns, a Navajo leader. "By leading a transition to energy that is powered by the sun, the wind and water, we ensure a better future for all of our people and for future generations."
Johns' company, Native Renewables, promotes low-cost clean energy solutions for Native American families throughout the U.S., with an emphasis on job creation and on benefiting the community as a whole. The trailers were built by members of the Navajo nation and were financed by Empowered by Light and Give Power.
Research led by Stanford Prof. Mark Jacobson, another Solutions Project co-founder, shows that it would be technically possible and economically beneficial to transition to 100 percent clean renewable energy in each and every state across the country. In North Dakota, for example, wind and solar energy would be the primary sources of clean power and transitioning to 100 percent renewables would create 30,000 jobs.
The Standing Rock Sioux tribe says it was not sufficiently consulted when the Dakota Access Pipeline was in the planning stages. The pipeline endangers the tribe's water supply—and the water supply of millions of other people, as well, given the pipeline's planned crossing under the Missouri River. The pipeline's construction has already marred sacred lands, including burial sites. The Standing Rock Sioux and their allies—including indigenous people from across the U.S. and around the world—see it as a clear threat to both the tribe's cultural heritage and the basic human right to clean water.
"Around the world, more than 80 percent of the forests and lands with protected waterways and rich biodiversity are held by indigenous tribes. This is no coincidence," Ruffalo said. "As so many of us suffer from polluted water, air and land in our rural and urban communities, the water defenders at Standing Rock are showing us another way."
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Nadia Prupis
More than 80 people were arrested in North Dakota Saturday, as police armed with pepper spray descended on a protest near the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) construction site.
Riot police at Saturday's prayer protest.Rob Wilson
The 83 water protectors were hit with charges ranging from rioting to criminal trespass, according to the Morton County sheriff's department. The Bismarck Tribune reported:
Kellie Berns, a protester who hung back behind a fence at the scene, said she received reports of people being pepper-sprayed and thrown to the ground and described law enforcement as being more aggressive than in past incidents. She said protesters were encircled by police as they walked onto 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 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.
Last week, riot charges against Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman were dismissed after she turned herself in to North Dakota police. An arrest warrant was issued after Goodman's crew videotaped a private security team hired by the pipeline company assaulting peaceful protesters with attack dogs and pepper spray. Meanwhile, documentary 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 & 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.
On Twitter, Ojibwe activist and attorney Tara Houska wrote:
Construction on the pipeline is continuing despite a request from the federal government to put a halt on activity so that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers can properly consider objections.
On Sunday morning, water protectors took back unceded territory affirmed in the 1851 Treaty of Ft. Laramie as sovereign land under the control of the Oceti Sakowin, erecting a frontline camp of several structures and tipis on Dakota Access property. This new established camp is 2.5 miles north of the Cannon Ball River, directly on the proposed path of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
According to Honor the Earth:
To ensure the protection of this new camp from overtly militarized law enforcement, water protectors have established two road blockades. One north of the Frontline Camp, on Highway 1806, and another immediately west of Highway 1806, on county road 134.
Police have discharged weapons, using rubber bullets to shoot down drones being used to document the police activity and actions.
This frontline camp is located on the final three miles of the proposed pipeline route, before it connects with the drill pad that will take the pipeline beneath the Missouri River. Active construction of the Dakota Access pipeline is two miles west of this frontline camp. Oceti Sakowin water protectors continue an on-going pledge to halt active construction as frequently as possible.
"Today, the Oceti Sakowin has enacted eminent domain on DAPL lands, claiming 1851 treaty rights," Mekasi Camp-Horinek, an Oceti Sakowin camp coordinator, said.
"This is unceded land. Highway 1806 as of this point is blockaded. We will be occupying this land and staying here until this pipeline is permanently stopped. We need bodies and we need people who are trained in non-violent direct action. We are still staying non-violent and we are still staying peaceful."
"We have never ceded this land," Joye Braun of Indigenous Environmental Network said. "If DAPL can go through and claim eminent domain on landowners and Native peoples on their own land, then we as sovereign nations can then declare eminent domain on our own aboriginal homeland. We are here to protect the burial sites here. Highway 1806 has become the no surrender line."
Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.