From Revcoms at Standing Rock, November 20
Police Attack With Water Cannons and Rubber Bullets–Standing Rock Protesters Refuse to Back Down
November 21, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
Police fired water cannons mixed with mace at people in 25° weather. People were working to clear burned out vehicles from a police blockade so that emergency vehicles could get through. Photo: Twitter/@erinschrode
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On Sunday night, around 8pm, a group of about 40 water protectors walked to the bridge on Highway 1806 which police have been occupying since the October 27th police raid of the North camp. They were attempting to remove some of the burnt out vehicles which were being used as part of the police blockade, to keep water protectors away from DAPL construction. This blockade also prevents people and emergency vehicles from going to Bismarck, forcing people to drive a much longer route.
The group quickly swelled from 40 to about 400, with hundreds on the bridge and dozens on the wetlands below the bridge. Water protectors on the scene told us that the fires, which the police say were the reason behind their unleashing of all their “nonlethal” weaponry, were actually started by the police themselves. As they shot tear gas canisters at water protectors, they would hit the razor wire they set up to reinforce the barricade, and this created a spark, which then hit the dry grass below and started a fire. When water protectors tried to put out these fires, multiple times, they were shot with rubber bullets.
We have heard that there are 200 or more people with injuries; an elder who went into cardiac arrest and was resuscitated by medics; at least one person who had a seizure; four people who suffered wounds from rubber bullets with three of these shots to the face or head; and one woman who had her kneecap broken. People were vomiting from exposure to the mace, and some people lost control of their bowels. The deputies were shooting water cannons mixed with mace. Police also fired rubber bullets at the media area where injured people were being treated.
When we arrived on the scene a few hours after the action started, there were still about 100+ people out, facing off with the police, dancing, praying, chanting, and supporting each other. Large flood lights were aimed at water protectors as well as two Humvees and dozens of riot police from the Morton County Sheriff's Department. Water cannons were still being sprayed at water protectors below the bridge in the wetlands, and on the bridge people were continuing to be pepper sprayed.
Deputies were shooting rubber bullets indiscriminately into the crowd. Riley (from the Revolution Club and a revcom.us correspondent at Standing Rock) was hit by a rubber bullet that ricocheted off the pavement. Medics were running back and forth helping those with injuries and getting water to people being poisoned by the chemicals being sprayed by police. Others ran back and forth with blankets and plastic shields to help protect people from the rubber bullets.
We ran into a couple of youth who we had met before and talked to about “HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution” and Bob Avakian (BA). They were glad to see us there, with one putting his arm around us and saying, “The communists came!” They had just gone back to their tent to change into warm, dry clothes after being sprayed with water so they could stay out longer and endure the cold. They were full of energy and joy being out there, and they both pulled out their mementos from the night: one pulled out two rubber bullets and concussion grenade he had been shot with, and the other pulled out a tear gas canister he has been shot with. They both described being on the front lines from the beginning of the night; how exciting it was to see the small group of people swell into hundreds; the determination they felt to stand up to these police; and how when there was a certain point in the confrontation where, in response to their screaming at the police, they were asked to say something meaningful. They shouted, “Fuck Trump!” and others joined in with them.
Tonight the Standing Rock water protectors made very clear that they have no intention of backing down or walking away from this fight. And DAPL and their armed thugs made clear that they are willing to do anything to make sure this pipeline gets completed.
What went down tonight, the vicious actions by the police, and the courage and determination of the water protectors in the face of this, needs to be seen and heard all over the world, and something that brings forward many more people into this struggle.
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