- Thomson Reuters
Protesters of the Dakota Access oil pipeline were marked with numbers and held in dog kennels without bedding or furniture after being arrested on Thursday, Native American activists told the Los Angeles Times last week.
During the protest, 141 people were arrested after law-enforcement officials in riot gear fired pepper spray and “sound cannon” blasts at activists, the Times said.
The Morton County Sheriff’s Department has said protesters threw “rocks, logs, bottles, and other debris at officers.” Authorities have said one protester shot at deputies as she was being arrested, which activists deny.
“We were caged in dog kennels, sat on the floor, and we were marked with numbers,” Floris White Bull, a protester, said in an emotional video posted to YouTube last week. White Bull described watching Native American elders being violently arrested, calling it “traumatic.”
“I couldn’t wrap my mind around the fact that this was something happening today,” she added. “This isn’t something we’re reading about in history books.”
Other protesters echoed White Bull’s statements on Twitter.
All of the arrested protesters have been released on bail after an anonymous donor gave $2.5 million to the cause, News on 6 reported on Sunday.
The Dakota Access Pipeline, a $3.7 billion project, would stretch 1,172 miles from North Dakota to Illinois. Supporters say it will help significantly boost economic growth and activity.
The pipeline’s construction has been hampered by recurring protests over the past year, often leading to violent clashes between police officers and demonstrators.
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, among others, has attempted to block the project because it is designed to pass through North Dakota’s Lake Oahe, a sacred site and a major water source for the Standing Rock Sioux. The pipeline also passes through another major reservation.
- Thomson Reuters
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has said the pipeline threatens tribe members’ “economic and environmental well-being,” according to CNN.
The tribe’s chairman, Dave Archambault II, condemned the actions of law-enforcement officials during Thursday’s protests, saying on Saturday that it was “wrong to use that kind of force on our people.”
Archambault also said he was considering taking legal action in the form of a class-action lawsuit against officers for their use of force.
Pipeline construction has resumed at the site of Thursday’s protest. Approximately a mile away, activists at the main protest camp, the Oceti Sakowin camp, have begun protesting again as well.