While lame duck Obama is in Europe on his farewell tour, the protesters at Standing Rock are getting abused by the cops.
As police unleashed streams of icy water Sunday night against Dakota Access pipeline demonstrators, Linda Black Elk, a member of the Standing Rock Medic and Healer Council, was helping care for injured demonstrators. The council estimated that 300 people were treated for injuries, including 26 who were taken to area hospitals.
In the midst of the clash, the Medic and Healer Council, which was set up to provide health support to those fighting the pipeline, released a statement pleading with police to halt the use of water cannons. "As medical professionals, we are concerned for the real risk of loss of life due to severe hypothermia under these conditions," the statement said.
The standoff began after pipeline opponents attempted to use a semitruck to remove two charred military vehicles from a bridge. The vehicles were serving as a blockade between the large encampment known as Oceti Sakowin, which has served as a base for blocking the pipeline, and construction sites accessible further down the highway. Beyond the burned-out vehicles stood cement road barriers topped with razor wire, behind which police and other security officials have been standing guard since the end of October. Its presence means a detour for those traveling between the Standing Rock Sioux reservation and the city of Bismarck, including emergency medical services.
In a statement on Sunday, the Morton County Sheriff's Department explained the bridge closing, saying, "North Dakota Department of Transportation has closed the Backwater Bridge due to damage caused after protesters set numerous fires on the bridge October 27th. In addition, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has requested Morton County to prevent protesters from trespassing on [US Army Corps of Engineers] land north of the camp."
You got that? It's totally fine to construct a pipeline on US Army Corps of Engineer land even if the government told you to stop, but if you're a protester trying to protect your water source, you get a rubber bullet shot at your head. Thanks, Obama.
According to the sheriff's department, approximately 400 people were involved in the protest. When asked in a press conference Monday about the use of water cannons, Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier said, "We don't have water cannons," explaining, "This is just a fire hose."
Oh, ok. Just a fire hose. You're cleared of any accusations of douchebaggery then, i guess.
fnord12: "It was sprayed more as a mist, and we didn't want to get it directly on them, but we wanted to make sure to use it as a measure to help keep everybody safe". How refreshing!
min: Yeah, i bet the twenty-something year old girl who might lose her arm thought that concussion grenade they threw at her was very refreshing, too.