According to The New York Times, the Morton County Sheriff’s Department used water cannons, rubber bullets and tear gas on protesters amidst below-freezing weather. The Sheriff’s Department justified these tactics because they saw an “ongoing riot” and said releasing protesters were “setting fires and using aggressive tactics”.
Reports and videos coming from the protesters, who continue to iterate that they are practicing peaceful protests, shows a scene of mayhem in the freezing temperatures of a North Dakota evening. As The Times states, “Reports coming out of the conflict have been highly contested, with law enforcement officials and protesters leveling substantive accusations of violence at each other.”
A handful of action sports stars have been showing support and even partaking in the protests themselves. Snowboarder Jamie Anderson and surfer John Florence have both posted on Instagram in support of the protests. And surfers Kamalei Alexander and Kassia Meador have both been in attendance in North Dakota.
11-time world champ surfer Kelly Slater is now the latest to make his feelings known on the environmental issue after the use of water cannons earlier this week.
There’s a sick irony here with clean water being sprayed on #WaterProtectors in freezing cold weather. I’d consider that mild torture on some level. When a grassroots movement of people with noble intentions for their country, resources, and friends comes together in solidarity against a corporate movement and the government backs the business over people thru militants means, business and govt are simply out of control. It may seem extreme but I’ve been saying there will be civil war in America in the next 50-100 years. It may be sooner with these types of incidents occurring more and more often. President @barackobama has been awfully quiet on this one. And with a $3B backing in the project, it’s a serious battle. But it’s David vs Goliath and hopefully a vocal majority can put the humanity and a righteous balance back in the mix. #Repost @seekthetruth ・・・ RT.com- Demonstrators protesting against #DakotaAccessPipeline say they are trapped on a bridge as North Dakota police fire tear gas, water cannon and concussion grenades at them, according to live reports on social media. The demonstration is taking place on Highway 1806, just north of the main protest camp against the pipeline. Officers have deployed water cannon on the protesters in below-freezing temperatures, and are using LRAD sound devices. Earlier, there were reports of rubber bullets fired. Vehicles which appear to be armored humvees have arrived at the scene. A FB Live stream of the incident has been posted by Kevin Gilbertt, who claims protesters are trapped on a bridge and being forced to endure tear gas. “The options are endure the tear gas or trample each other,” Gilbertt says, adding that other protesters are bringing blankets to those trapped on the bridge. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has shared Gilbertt’s feed, adding a message in support of protesters: “President Obama must take all appropriate measures to protect the safety of the #NativeAmerican protesters and their supporters who have gathered peacefully to oppose construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.” #indigenous #waterislife #NoDAP
A video posted by Kelly Slater (@kellyslater) on
Slater is quoted as saying in his post, “There’s a sick irony here with clean water being sprayed on #WaterProtectors in freezing cold weather. I’d consider that mild torture on some level.”
In recent years, Slater has become more vocal with his feelings on politics, the environment and human rights issues, using his large social media platforms to inform followers about important issues.
This is merely the latest issue Slater feels passionate about, but by no means does that discount the magnitude of the situation going on in North Dakota.
The Dakota Access Pipeline would run from North Dakota to Illinois, carrying oil across sacred Native American grounds and posing a high risk to drinking water. It is a $3.7 billion project that is not going away, which is why tensions between protesters and law enforcement are heightening.
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