125 Arrested As Dakota Pipeline Protests Grow Hostile; Media Drones Shot Down By Police

Protests over the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) in North Dakota grew increasingly hostile over the weekend as police arrested 127 activists who setup multiple highway blockades claiming “unceded territory” in the direct path of the pipeline's construction.  According to a report by RT, police were forced to make arrests as the blockades directly threatened the ability of local officials to provide emergency services.

The Morton County Sheriff's Department posted the following update to their Facebook page claiming that the 127 arrests from the weekend brought the total since August 10th to 269. 

"Today’s situation clearly illustrates what we have been saying for weeks, that this protest is not peaceful or lawful," said Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier. "It was obvious to our officers who responded that the protesters engaged in escalated unlawful tactics and behavior during this event. This protest was intentionally coordinated and planned by agitators with the specific intent to engage in illegal activities."

DAPL

 

Law enforcement officials also fired on media drones after reports surfaced of drones flying too close to surveillance helicopters "in a threatening manner."  The Sheriff's office reported that a deputy aboard the helicopter as well as the pilot and other passengers were "in fear of their lives."

"The drones being operated near the local protests and the camps south of Mandan generally are not being operated within the regulations," Sheriff Kirchmeier said. "Reports of drones not being operated within the FAA guidelines or in a reckless and unsafe manner are being investigated and forwarded to the Morton County States Attorney’s office."

 

According to social media posts, the blockades were established by protesters specifically to inhibit police movement. 

Our Water Protectors have set up a road blockade on Hwy 1806 just north of where the Dakota Access pipeline is proposed to cross the road.

 

There is also a camp-initiated blockade south of Main Oceti Sakowin camp on hwy 1806. And a blockade on county road 134 to stop police access coming from the west.

 

This is to protect a new established frontline camp thats on the pipeline easement, just east of hwy 1806.

 

Meanwhile, DAPL is still trying to dig, heading towards this new frontline camp. This is real.

 

We are done with being reactionary. We are asserting our rights as Indigenous peoples! This remains a non-violent direct action committed to peaceful civil disobedience.

DAPL

 

Meanwhile, protest organizers asserted that Native Americans in the region never "ceded this land" which gave them the authority "as sovereign nations to then declare eminent domain on our own aboriginal homeland."

"We have never ceded this land," said Joye Braun, organizer with the Indigenous Environmental Network. "If DAPL can go through and claim eminent domain on landowners and Native peoples on their own land, then we as sovereign nations can then declare eminent domain on our own aboriginal homeland. We are here to protect the burial sites here. Highway 1806 has become the no surrender line."

 

Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier called encampment "intentional, planned, coordinated and outright unlawful."

 

"Individuals trespassing on private property can't claim eminent domain to justify their criminal actions," he said in a statement.

 

"Today’s situation clearly illustrates what we have been saying for weeks, that this protest is not peaceful or lawful," said Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier. "It was obvious to our officers who responded that the protesters engaged in escalated unlawful tactics and behavior during this event. This protest was intentionally coordinated and planned by agitators with the specific intent to engage in illegal activities."

The blockades were ultimately broken up but only after several arrests were made and police threatened that protesters would be held liable if emergency crews were blocked from performing their duties.

Law Enforcement to protesters who illegally blocked 1806. "If something happens, you will be liable. I’m worried about the people in Standing Rock needing emergency services and that includes everybody right here. You need to clear this up because if anything would happen medically, fire, emergency services, we have to be able to get through." Watch the video here:

 

Yet another of Obama's efforts to circumvent legal channels with unilateral executive action seems to be working out just beautifully.