Last night, November 20, millions of people around the world watched independent media coverage of the over-militarized North Dakota police force endangering the lives of hundreds of people opposing the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
In October, a police barricade was set-up with military vehicles chained to concrete barriers on a bridge on Highway 1806, north of the pipeline opposition camps, cutting off vital transportation access for local residents and businesses in and around the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Early last night the Water Protectors attempted to remove the blockade. Police said they would at some point open the road after their October 27 raid and demolition of the protectors’ camp set up adjacent to the blockade. The camp was on an easement granted to the pipeline builder, land that was taken from the various Sioux bands in violation of the 1851 Fort Laramie Treaty.
The Water Protectors were met with hundreds of riot police, military vehicles with Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD), water cannons, tear-gas canisters, high-pressure pepper spray and rubber bullets. The temperature was 26° Fahrenheit and rapidly dropping as hundreds of people were drenched with icy water. Police tear-gas canisters were tossed into the crowd, some were lobbed back. A large crowd on a bridge were unable to disperse and were forced to inhale too much gas. Many people started vomiting and losing bowel and bladder control from the coughing.
The water cannons were in use for more than five hours along with intermittent fire of rubber bullets, gas canisters and pepper spray.
UPDATE FROM HEAD MEDIC OF THE OCETI SAKOWIN CAMP 11:11PM:
167 Water Protectors have been injured. 3 of those people are elders.
7 people have been hospitalized for severe head injuries. The police are targeted [sic] the heads and legs of Water Protectors.
There are no fatalities. Standing Rock EMT is still on site.
The nearby Cannon Ball high school opened its gymnasium to harbor the injured as they recovered their body temperatures.
NBC and other media used the Morton County Sheriff’s office for their reports last night, incorrectly describing the events, which can be refuted by watching the actual video footage live-streamed into Facebook and now uploaded to YouTube.
Native social media is planning a Media Must Report Twitterstorm because reporting verbatim the false narrative given by the Morton County Sheriff’s Department is not thorough reporting. YOU can help by participating.
The sheriff’s department told the media that fires were started by the Water Protectors, when, in fact, they were started when deputies shot flash grenades around the blockade. The Water Protectors put out those fires. The most obvious police lie was that they didn’t use water cannons on the people but were were trying to put out the fire.
Contained fires well away from the front line were started to keep people warm. Water cannons could not reach these fires.
The brutality of the police was once again video-recorded as they punished and tormented the Water Protectors with hypothermia, blinding pepper spray, nauseating gas and rubber bullet injuries.
Unicorn Riot has obtained photos of a woman with her flesh torn away from her forearm, exposing the bone. (Photos showing this have been removed from Facebook). There is video documentation of head wounds from rubber bullets. One of the victims was a 13-year-old girl shot in the face.
Good coverage from EcoWatch: Water Cannons Fired at Water Protectors, Hundreds Injured:
National Lawyers Guild legal observers on the frontlines have confirmed that multiple people were unconscious and bleeding after being shot in the head with rubber bullets. One elder went into cardiac arrest at the frontlines but medics administered CPR and were able to resuscitate him. The camp's medical staff and facilities are overwhelmed and the local community of Cannonball has opened their school gymnasium for emergency relief.
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's Emergency Medical Service department arrived on scene to administer medical services. The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe also sent Emergency Medical Service vehicles to the Oceti Sakowin Camp to assist. Hundreds are receiving treatment for contamination by CS gas, hypothermia, and blunt traumas as a result of rubber bullets and other less lethal ammunition.
"Standing Rock is the moral center of the nation right now; the real question is why there's no response from the White House to kind of abuses that would make us protest loudly if they happened abroad," Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org, said. "This is America's oldest shame, and it's sad that we're still seeing it in the waning days of the Obama presidency."
This footage, shot by photojournalist August White shows the water cannon at work as well as one male protector's rubber bullet wound to the head. (h/t BOHICA)
• 20 gas canisters were released in a small area (the bridge) in less than five minutes.
• The legal observation team witnessed one person go into a seizure.
• Canisters fired at medic area near the front line.
• One elder went into cardiac arrest but was revived at the scene.
• There was one confirmed arrest.
• Back at the Oceti Sakowin camp people are calm and meeting the needs of the injured.
• Some people have returned to the front lines after treatment and getting dry clothing.
• Nightly flyovers continue at the main camp intending to create an atmosphere of fear and chaos but the camp is responding with calmness.
More coverage from Unicorn Riot: Police Attack Unarmed Water Protectors w/ Rubber Bullets, Tear Gas, and Water Cannons; 160+ injured. Numerous videos published and detailed commentary.
From The Guardian: Standing Rock protest: hundreds clash with police over Dakota Access Pipeline.
My News Timeline of Standing Rock Water Protectors' resistance to Dakota Access Pipeline if you need background.
Sophia Wilansky, an ally from New York, is facing possible arm amputation recovery tonight. She was hit with a concussion grenade as she was handing out bottled water to the front line at Standing Rock last night. She was air lifted to Minneapolis to undergo surgery. Her family has asked that the graphic photos of her injuries not be shared online.
Minneapolis: There will be a press conference at 12 tomorrow outside HCMC the purple building for support and love, and to address the cover up by law enforcement. Following at 4 pm, there will be a prayer vigil at the HCMC PLAZA on 6th and Chicago for Sophia. Bring signs- there will be songs, drumming and prayer.
New York City: Columbus circle / 7pm / Wens/ support the frontlines.
From The Guardian: Dakota Access pipeline protester 'may lose her arm' after police standoff
“The best-case scenario is no pain and 10-20% functionality,” said Wayne Wilansky, Sophia’s father, who travelled to Minneapolis where his daughter underwent eight hours of surgery on Monday. He said his daughter had been hit by a concussion grenade thrown by a police officer and that the arteries, median nerve, muscle and bone in her left arm had been “blown away”.
Sophia will require additional surgery in the next few days and her arm may still have to be amputated, he added. “She’s devastated. She looks at her arm and she cries,” he said.
The barricade may have exacerbated Wilansky’s injury, her father said, by delaying her arrival at a hospital in Bismarck. She was subsequently airlifted to another hospital in Minneapolis.
Wilansky has received a massive outpouring of support online. A crowdfunding campaign established to help pay her medical bills raised more than $120,000 (£96,000) from more than 4,000 donors in the first seven hours.
UPDATE: Tuesday, November, 22, 2016
Standing Rock Police Attack Protesters Again: ‘He Just Smiled and Shot Both My Kneecaps’ from the Daily Beast
“I was tear gassed over 15 times, which made it hard to breathe and left my face burning for hours. I got hosed down with a water cannon in freezing temperatures leaving me hypothermic, and I was slammed into a barbed wire barricade out of panic caused by the police after a flash grenade was thrown and caught fire to a field,” said Cheyenne, a young native woman from Michigan, whose face was streaked with tear gas, and whose eyes were red and swollen.
Another young native man from the Ojibwe nation, reports being openly targeted by a police officer using “non-lethal” weapons to cause serious harm.
“He shot me with a rubber bullet right in the belly button, and when I showed him that he had hurt me, he just smiled and shot both my kneecaps,” he said.