State Police Begin Checkpoints, Roadblocks, and Psyops as Protesters Unite to Defend Water

Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, ND – Occupations and demonstrations continued August 17th at the site of construction for the Missouri River crossing of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

With no police or workers seemingly on site, demonstrations persisted against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Thousands of protesters, including many young children and elders, gathered at the entrance. Tribal members wearing yellow vests safely directed all traffic past the protests, unabated.

After hours of anxiously waiting for construction crews or authorities to arrive, word came that police were setting up concrete road blocks in Mandan, south of Bismarck. Later in the afternoon, Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier gave a press conference where he stated that traffic was being restricted to anyone heading towards Standing Rock Reservation and only residents who lived in the area would be allowed through.

Eventually, protesters entered the construction site without incident in a massive act of non-violent civil disobedience. A group of horses, vehicles, and protesters on foot, ascended on the nearby hill.

Some protesters eventually approached what appeared to be a private security team, near the machinery left behind by work crews, and offered them water.

The demonstrations ended when a circle was formed and people were asked to return to the Red Warrior Camp so they could discuss their next moves. Protesters also stated they were dismayed when Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier claimed that they had “reports of uh, weapons, of uh, pipebombs, of some shots fired, of vandalism happening in that area, and uh, assaults on private security”, during his press conference earlier in the day.

In response to Kirchmeier’s attempt at planting disinformation in the corporate media, protesters made it clear that they were a non-violent movement, and that there were in fact, children, mothers and elderly among them. The sheriff never stated if the reports were verified, or merely slanderous hearsay, during his press conference.

His claim is a good example of a psychological operations, or ‘psyops’ tactic, called ‘gray propaganda‘, as it is un-sourced to any specific individual, and designed to fog perceptions. In fourth generation warfare (4GW) theory, Kirchmeier’s ‘Information Operation‘ is designed to attack the schwerpunkt (center of gravity) of his adversaries, the Indigenous protesters, by trying to weaken their key moral position of nonviolent resistance.

The roadblocks are intended to prevent Indigenous protesters and their supporters from physically gathering, while disinformation meted out to the media frontally assaults their moral cohesion.

While the North Dakota State Patrol continues to set up checkpoints and roadblocks north of camp, families prepare meals, and share stories over fires and drum circles, in multiple camps. The Tribal members and allies continue to stand united and defend the water for future generations.

Update, Thurs Aug 17th 3PM CDT: Unicorn Riot reporters passed through one of the concrete barrier-based checkpoints, north of the camps (1/2 mile south of Fort Lincoln State Park) and recorded the scene:

For more information and context, we have followed this struggle since April 1st, 2016.

In April, a caravan of over 200 supporters, led by forty riders on horse, left Fort Yates for a thirty mile trek to the camp located just north of Cannonball.

For a recap of this week’s action, see below.

Unicorn Riot once again arrived at 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.

For our coverage this spring of the Sacred Stone Camp, with many photos and videos, 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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