By Glynn Wilson –
CANNON BALL, N.D. – Standing Rock Sioux Chairman David Archambault II issued a statement Monday condemning the tactics used against unarmed water protectors by police, including rubber bullets and pepper spray.
Since Saturday October 22, 127 water protectors have been arrested and there have been multiple reports that peaceful protesters were met with violence.
“The militarization of local law enforcement and enlistment of multiple law enforcements agencies from neighboring states is needlessly escalating violence and unlawful arrests against peaceful protesters at Standing Rock,” Archambault said. “We do not condone reports of illegal actions, but believe the majority of peaceful protesters are reacting to strong-arm tactics and abuses by law enforcement.”
Thousands of water protectors have joined the Tribe in solidarity against the Dakota Access Pipeline without incident or serious injury, he said.
“Yet, North Dakota law enforcement have proceeded with a disproportionate response to their nonviolent exercise of their First Amendment rights, even going as far as labeling them rioters and calling their every action illegal,” Archambault said. “We are disappointed to see that our state and congressional delegations and Gov. Jack Dalrymple have failed to ensure the safety and rights of the citizens engaged in peaceful protests who were arrested on Saturday. Their lack of leadership and commitment to creating a dialogue towards a peaceful solution reflects not only the unjust historical narrative against Native Americans, but a dangerous trend in law enforcement tactics across America.”
For these reasons, he said, “we believe the situation at Standing Rock deserves the immediate and full attention of the U.S. Department of Justice.”
Furthermore, he said the DOJ should impose an injunction to all developments at the pipeline site to keep ALL citizens – law enforcement and protesters — safe.
“The DOJ should be enlisted and expected to investigate the overwhelming reports and videos demonstrating clear strong-arm tactics, abuses and unlawful arrests by law enforcement,” he said. “Preventing government agencies from stripping protesters and tribal members of their constitutional rights to organize and protect our sacred places and water is paramount to both U.S. citizens and tribal sovereignty.”
© 2016, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.