“Toxic Tour,” Governor Debate Disruption, Water Protectors in Court

Morton County, ND – On Monday, October 3rd, a large group of water protectors left their encampment to visit several Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) construction sites.

Dubbed the “toxic tour”, a convoy of 111 vehicles stopped at five different DAPL work locations, prompting workers to immediately cease work and leave the area once the protectors arrived.

The Toxic Tour represents a temporary departure from the series of civil disobedience actions which often saw water protectors arrested for entering DAPL construction areas.  As opposed to risking arrest for deliberately halting construction, protectors opted instead to force construction to stop simply by being physically present at construction sites.  Construction workers must abide by workplace safety regulations and cease working if non-workers are present at sites of active construction.

Video of the Toxic Tour:

Toxic Tour Shuts Down Pipeline Construction Work from Unicorn Riot on Vimeo.

This fact is illustrated by an email recently obtained by Unicorn Riot in which a union representative for DAPL construction workers contacted the Governor’s office about safety concerns.

email sent to ND Governor's office by a DAPL union representative

After the caravan of water protectors visited and halted work at the five DAPL sites, they drove to Bismarck, where a debate was taking place between the Democratic, Republican, and Libertarian candidates in the running to become the next Governor of North Dakota.

Water protectors disrupted the debate event inside the venue and also demonstrated outside.

Unicorn Riot was live during the debate, the disruption, and the demonstration outside the venue:

The next morning, on Tuesday, October 4, many people who had been arrested in recent direct actions against the DAPL (including one Unicorn Riot journalist who was arrested while reporting on September 13) appeared in court in Mandan, ND.

All those present in court pleaded not guilty and a tentative December 23 trial date was set for most cases.

After the arraignments, water protector Mason Redwing turned himself in upon learning that a warrant had been issued for his arrest. The charges include the felonies of “reckless endangerment” and “terrorizing”, for allegedly riding a horse near police on September 28.

The state’s attorney requested a $5,000 bond and a travel ban disallowing Redwing from leaving North Dakota. The judge issued a bond of $2,000.

The latest additional charges demonstrate that the Morton County Sheriff as well as law enforcement from around North Dakota is still actively working to identify, arrest, and prosecute people involved in resisting the Dakota Access Pipeline.
The Morton County State’s Attorney’s Office has not yet responded to our request for comment about recent criminal charges filed against water protectors.

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To see Unicorn Riot’s coverage of the Sacred Stone Camp and frontline anti-pipeline struggle, see below.

August 2016

September 2016

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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