Morton County, ND – Early in the morning of Wednesday, September 14th, indigenous water protectors again disrupted Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) construction by entering a work site north of Almont, North Dakota and using lockboxes to attach themselves to machinery.
Livestream videos posted to Facebook shows three people attached to construction equipment with lockboxes. One video shows the man streaming being arrested as the stream cuts out. Another local corporate news Facebook video stream shows the lock down in progress as North Dakota Highway Patrol and sheriff’s deputies make arrests.
“For far too long as Indigenous people, our rights, our water, and our land have been taken from us. And we’re not going to stand for it no more. This pipeline is a pipeline to the past. We need to be building sustainable infrastructure for the future, not destructive unsustainable industries that hurt land, that hurt water, that hurt people. Everything is wrong about this pipeline… We’re here standing in solidarity with millions of people from around the world that are against this pipeline.” – Indigenous water protector, while locked to heavy machinery, on Kaden Jeray Facebook stream
— Indigenous Environmental Network (@IENearth) September 14, 2016
— Indigenous Environmental Network (@IENearth) September 14, 2016
Wednesday’s lockdown actions against DAPL come on the heels of similar disruptions on Tuesday, which stopped work for the day on two different pipeline sites.
At least 20 people, including two Unicorn Riot journalists, were arrested during Tuesday’s actions by militarized police wearing riot gear, some of whom brandished automatic weapons.
In a press release issued about “illegal protest activity”, Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier announced increased charges against people who locked down during Tuesday’s actions, as well as felony charges against some of the people involved in the direct action on Wednesday.
Three water protectors who locked down, each face felony reckless endangerment charges, and two others accused of aiding in the action face “conspiracy to commit reckless endangerment”, also a felony, as well as misdemeanor charges.
One person was arrested for “conspiracy to commit obstruction of a government function” and had their vehicle impounded after officers allegedly “witnessed the driver transporting protesters.”
Read the full press release here:9-14-release-on-protest-felony-arrests
Today’s escalation of legal charges brought against water protectors resisting Dakota Access construction comes almost a week after North Dakota Governor Jim Dalrymple activated the National Guard to operate a road checkpoint near anti-pipeline campsites.
In a press conference held last Thursday, Governor, North Dakota National Guard Major General Al Dohrmann, Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier, and North Dakota Highway Patrol Colonel Mike Gerhardt announced their intention to identify anti-DAPL “agitators” as well as saturate pipeline construction areas with patrols in order to more effectively locate and arrest water protectors.
— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) September 10, 2016
The state of North Dakota has reportedly spent almost $2 million on mobilizing law enforcement against indigenous water protectors, and Governor Dalrymple has asked the federal government provide funding and personnel to assist in protecting pipeline construction.
The North Dakota Office of Emergency Services has also requested a loan of $6 million from the Bank of North Dakota to “offset costs for providing assistance to local law enforcement” related to pipeline resistance, according to the Bismarck Tribune.
Tribal leaders and Indigenous action organizers responded to the escalation of state repression against the water protectors, and vowed to continue their nonviolent direct actions to stop the completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline:
“This was an absurd and overzealous usage of force by North Dakota law enforcement. Such blatant disregard for the safety and legal rights of unarmed water protectors should not and will not go unnoticed. And yet, this inappropriate behavior by police will not deter our peaceful struggle to stop this pipeline.” – Dallas Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network (via Sacred Stone Camp)
“Energy Transfer Partners has proven time and time again that the bottom line for them is money. The bottom line for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is and will always be protecting our lands, people, water and sacred sites from the devastation of this pipeline.” – Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman Dave Archambault
“These non-violent direct actions are part of a long-term commitment to prevent the contested Dakota Access Pipeline from entering into the ground, which water protectors (both indigenous and non-native allies) see as a raping of Mother Earth.” – Statement by Red Warrior Camp
Unicorn Riot will continue to cover the struggle Dakota Access Pipeline and bring you more information as best we can.
For a recap from the month of August’s action, see below.
- After covering the camp in the spring of 2016, Unicorn Riot returned to Standing Rock Reservation on Wednesday, August 10th, when Standing Rock tribal members and allies blocked the entrance to the Dakota Access Pipeline construction site.
- On Thursday, August 11th, a dozen or so people were arrested blocking the construction site entrances.
- Day 3, Friday, the fight to protect land & water intensified around the construction sites of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
- On the 4th day, the pipeline resistance encampment swelled and prepared for more action.
- Monday, August 15th, land defenders stormed the construction site halting construction, and the next day construction was halted as well.
- August 17th saw State Police begin checkpoints, roadblocks, and psyops as protesters united to defend water.
- August 24th, camps prepared as Federal injunction hearing looms.
- Camps Organize to Stay as Injunction Postponed.
- On August 31st, Non-Violent Direct Action Stopped DAPL Construction for Over 6 Hours.
- Indigenous Water Protectors Swarm Dakota Access Pipeline Site, Stop Work
- Ongoing #NoDAPL Water Protection Actions – Interview With Uŋpa Nuŋpa
- North Dakota Highway Patrol Refuses to Release Emails with Energy Transfer Partners
- ND National Guard Take Over Dakota Access Pipeline Checkpoints
- US Govt. Overrules Federal Judge, Orders Pipeline Construction Halted at Lake Oahe
- Cultural Activities Continue at #NoDAPL Camps, More Arrests/Warrants
- 20 Arrested During #NoDAPL Lockdown, Including 2 Unicorn Riot Journalists
For our coverage earlier this spring of the Sacred Stone Camp, see May 27th report, “Dakota Access Pipeline Blockade Enters 2nd Month“; May 5th, “Sacred Stone Camp Resists Dakota Access Pipeline“; April 3rd, “Tribal Citizens Build Camp in Path of Oil Pipeline“; March 29th, “Tribal Citizens Prepare to Blockade Bakken Oil Pipeline“.
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