Over 70 Arrests in Government Assault on Water Protectors at Standing Rock

February 1, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


Supporters of the new camp at Standing Rock (left) confront militarized police who made over 70 arrests.
Photo: Thunder Walks About

News sources, authorities, and social media are reporting over 70 arrests this afternoon in a major government assault on Water Protectors defending the Standing Rock Sioux from the Dakota Access Oil Pipeline (DAPL). This attack took place one week after Donald Trump “Executive Order” that government agencies basically abandon any pretense of environmental impact studies ordered by the Obama administration on the danger DAPL poses to the water supply of the Standing Rock Sioux. And it spits on long-standing, and repeatedly violated treaty rights promised to Native peoples by the U.S. government (see “Trump Order Gives Green Light to Dakota Access Pipeline—Tramples on Native American Rights and People’s Struggle.”)

Activists had set up a new camp in response to moves by the pipeline contractor to immediately resume construction. One videographer on the scene reported militarized police moved in with multiple armored personnel carriers, sound-assault weapons, and rifles. One of those arrested was Chase Iron Eyes—a prominent activist in the movement at Standing Rock, and an initiator of Refuse Fascism. As the Army Corps of Engineers threatened them with arrest for “trespassing,” a Facebook post from someone on the frontline declared: “We came here to stop a pipeline, and that’s what we intend to do. There are people from many Native nations here, to show the world that we not only deserve clean water, not only is water sacred, not only is it the foundation of all economic value, but it’s our birthright to determine our own destiny, to seek a life of dignity, and to be free from legal, economic and political oppression which is being perpetrated by the United States government, by the state of North Dakota.”

And he said: “This movement has grown to include the constitutional rights, civil rights, and human rights struggles of everybody that does not fall into the demographic that Donald Trump falls into—that is euro, hetero, and patriarchy. So we’re talking about Black Lives Matter. We’re talking about the entirety of the Muslim faith, which is being banned from entering the United States from seven countries. We’re talking about Native people, and they’re going to be prohibited from their right to travel, that predate the 240-year history of this country. And this struggle also includes people demanding a different energy economy, a different way of life.”

People at Standing Rock have been subjected to hundreds of vicious arrests; to assaults by private mercenaries; helicopter surveillance, drones, and harassment by reactionary white people in the area.

The Facebook message declared: “But we are going to hold it down on the high ground here. We don’t have a choice but to be that inspiration that the world is depending on.”

Activists are calling on people who are in a position to function in the brutal North Dakota winter to join them. In response to Trump’s initial declaration to roll forward with DAPL, protests broke out in many cities. Today, with the arrests, a spokesperson for Veterans Stand with Standing Rock issued a statement that: “We are committed to the people of Standing Rock, we are committed to nonviolence, and we will do everything within our power to ensure that the environment and human life are respected. That pipeline will not get completed. Not on our watch.”

The stakes at Standing Rock have always been high, for humanity. Now, with Trump putting Standing Rock in the crosshairs of his fascist agenda, they are much, much higher.

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