Militarized Force Prepares Eviction of Main #NoDAPL Encampment

Cannonball, ND – After nearly a year of struggling against the Dakota Access Pipeline’s construction underneath the Missouri River, water protectors are now scheduled to be evicted from their main encampment. [Watch our LIVE updates below]

UPDATE Thursday, February 23rd, 11:45AM: Our full report from Thursday is published here. A large militarized force moved into the Oceti Sakowin main camp. We streamed live on “Cam 1” which is embedded below, or directly on Livestream here. Armored vehicles and riot police are moving around the camp, as many camp participants and medics have evacuated across the frozen Cannonball River to the Rosebud Camp.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the encampment, on unceded Fort Laramie Treaty land and maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers, has a few hundred water protectors still holding steady as the eviction looms.

Ceremonial fires have been raging throughout the snow-filled morning.

For our LIVE feeds from the muddy encampments, see below.

We spoke with an Indigenous elder in the late morning who talked about passively resisting the scheduled eviction, saying,

We have no intentions on leaving, we are standing on our 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty rights, we are taking an 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty stance and we are legitimate 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty representatives. For my people out there, we stand for you, and water.”

He further stated,

This is a sacred site and we are protected by federal statutes … forcefully removing us from treaty territories is another violation. Again, we are here in peace and prayer, we are supposed to be protected and we’re not. We’re going to resist, and it’s passive resistance, we’re not going to fight them. At the same time, we’re going to be praying for them and their families for this water, that they need, that we all need.”

With less than an hour before the set eviction time of 2 p.m., many water protectors marched south out of camp towards the Cannonball bridge as more fires burned.

With less than ten minutes before the scheduled eviction, the north gate into camp was blocked with metal barricades and the security shack was lit afire.

The scheduled eviction time of 2 p.m. came and went with no loud announcements by the police. Since then, groups of water protectors and law enforcement have had discussions on Highway 1806.

More wood structures were lit on fire after 2:30 p.m. CST.

A video update from 2:50 p.m. shows fires still raging across camp with a small amount of water protectors left, riot squads readying on Highway 1806, and the media taking it all in.

After an hour and a half past the scheduled eviction time, police still had yet to enter camp and Army Corps representatives stated that they are scheduled to clean the camp at 9 a.m. tomorrow.

Watch the conversation with the policy advisor for Governor Burgum that happened on Highway 1806 around 3:30 p.m. below:

A bit after 4 p.m. CST, police officers led by the Wisconsin State Patrol started to make arrests of people on Highway 1806, including a Rabbi, legal observers, and journalists.

The person seen in the above picture being tackled by Wisconsin State Troopers and Morton County Sheriffs has been identified as Eric Poemz. While he was attacked he was livestreaming through his Facebook and can be heard screaming in pain after being tackled to the ground and saying he thinks his hip is broken.

There have been 10 arrests so far today according to Dennis Ward from Aboriginal Peoples Television Network.

At about 5 p.m. there was an update given by two water protectors who were acting as the police liaisons.

There’s no negotiating anymore, there’s no ceremonies, they’re just gunna come and arrest. But they’ve given us one last opportunity to say ‘hey we want to leave’ and if we leave then we won’t get arrested.”

They went on to say that the Army Corp of Engineers won’t be entering the camp to do any cleaning until the area is clear of people.

There’s concerns about a group in here that wants to kill the cops. They think there’s some kind of group in here, I have not seen any group like that, but they think there is.”

Meanwhile mainstream media ABC has been allowed to stand with the police and will not be arrested.

KFYR-TV, a local NBC and FOX affiliate for the Bismarck-Mandan and Dickinson, North Dakota region, was live for a press conference with North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier, and other state and Army officials about today’s eviction.

It’s our desire that people leave voluntarily from the camp and at 9 o’clock tomorrow morning. It’s our intention in a coordinated way again with the state of North Dakota, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Army Corp of Engineers, to enter the Oceti Camp and continue the clean up efforts that we’ve begun in the last few weeks.”

Continue to check back for updates.

Below is Unicorn Riot's coverage of the #NoDAPL anti-Dakota Access Pipeline struggle from early summer 2016 to present:

Watch our feature-length documentary, Black Snake Killaz: A #NoDAPL Story

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