Police have reportedly deployed water cannon on the protesters, many of whom were trapped on a bridge at the scene, in sub-zero temperatures, and are using LRAD sound devices. There were also reports of police firing rubber bullets into the crowd.
Construction of the $3.7 billion pipeline has been inciting protests since the spring, with the Sioux tribe and environmental activists claiming the project threatens local water sources, as well sacred Indian sites, including burial grounds.
Once on-line, the 1,200-mile pipeline will carry 500,000 gallons of crude oil daily from North Dakota through South Dakota and Iowa to a distribution point in Illinois.
Kelcy Warren, CEO of Energy Transfer Partners, the company constructing the pipeline, told PBS last week the work was not being carried out on Native American property.
“We’re on private land,” and the pipeline is “new steel pipe,” he said.
Political analyst Elizabeth Murray provides her view of the demonstrations and how the US media has shied away from reporting on the disturbing drama.
— IndigenousEnviroNet (@IENearth) November 21, 2016
RT:Tear gas and rubber bullets have reportedly been used to disperse the protests. Why do you think they’re use such strong force against protestors who say they’re acting peacefully?
Elizabeth Murray: This has been a full-blown assault on completely peaceful, non-violent protesters. I did see several reports, as yet unconfirmed, that the ground was vibrating underneath the area where the pipeline is being constructed and that it’s quite possible that this attack tonight could be a cover – actually, a distraction – while underground drilling is taking place.
As we know, Energy Transfer Partners has openly defied both the Army Corp of Engineers and the president’s urge to temporarily halt while the Army Corp of Engineers reviews whether they can go ahead with this. It’s possible that they may be trying to start drilling under the river tonight, and again, that’s unconfirmed, but I wouldn’t be surprised and I wouldn’t put it past Energy Transfer Partners, which has already said that any kind of alternative route is out of the question and that they intend to drill there…
RT:What do you think about protestors saying the police shot down their drone to prevent them from filming?
EM: I heard the same thing. I’ve been following the events rather closely on Twitter, but this is clearly an attempt to keep this out of the public eye. I understand that as this has been unfolding tonight, CNN, for example, has been busy going over the Hamilton theater incident with Vice President-elect Mike Pence and hasn’t given any attention to this issue. Fortunately, we’ve had not only RT but all kinds of citizen journalists live-streaming so they’re actually able to give citizens facts on the ground.
— WomenForSurvival (@WMN4SRVL) November 21, 2016
As you’ve mentioned and shown tonight, people were sprayed with water cannons in 25-degree cold.
Meanwhile, the Morton County Sheriff is apparently denying that they’ve used water cannons, but thanks to social media, people can get on-line and check out the live-streaming that has been going on through the night and see the terror that these non-violent water protectors are being subjected to.
It’s really appalling.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.
Despite Freezing Weather, Police Fire Water Cannons At Dakota Pipeline Protesters
Police fired tear gas and water at hundreds of protesters in North Dakota opposed to an oil pipeline in freezing weather late Sunday and early Monday, in the latest violent clash between law enforcement and activists over the $3.7 billion project.
An estimated 400 protesters mounted the Backwater Bridge just north of Cannon Ball, North Dakota, and attempted to force their way past police in what the Morton County Sheriff’s Department initially described as an “ongoing riot.”
A joint statement from several activist groups said protesters were trying to remove the burned vehicles blocking Backwater Bridge in order to restore access to the nearby Standing Rock encampments so emergency services and local traffic can move freely.
Police fired volleys of tear gas at the protesters to prevent them from crossing the bridge. Law enforcement also sprayed protesters with water in sub-freezing temperatures, and fired rubber bullets, injuring some in the crowd.
“It is below freezing right now and the Morton County Sheriff’s Department is using a water cannon on our people – that is an excessive and potentially deadly use of force,” said Dallas Goldtooth, a spokesman for the Indigenous Environmental Network, one of the organizations involved in protests.
A statement from the sheriff’s’ department said one arrest had been made by 8:30 p.m. local time (0230 GMT Monday), about 2-1/2 hours after the incident began 45 miles (30 miles) south of Bismarck, the North Dakota capital. About 100 to 200 protesters remained after midnight.
The protest was latest in a series of demonstrations against the Dakota Access Pipeline that Native American activists and environmentalists say threatens water resources and sacred tribal lands.
The Dakota Access project has drawn steady opposition from activists since the summer, led by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, whose tribal lands are adjacent to the pipeline.
Supporters of the pipeline, owned by Energy Transfer Partners (ETP.N), said the project offers the most direct route for taking shale oil from North Dakota to Gulf Coast refineries and would be safer than road or rail transportation.
Completion of the pipeline, set to run 1,172 miles (1,185 km) from North Dakota to Illinois, was delayed in September so federal authorities could re-examine permits required by the Army Corps of Engineers. A final decision on the permit has been deferred for more consultation with the tribe.
The latest confrontation began after protesters removed a truck that had been on the bridge since Oct. 27, police said. The North Dakota Department of Transportation closed the Backwater Bridge, which crosses Cantapeta Creek north of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s camp, due to damage from that incident.
This video was produced by YT Wochit News using http://wochit.com