This has gone on too long.
For too many days, too many people have stood aside as peaceful water protectors are beaten and tortured by state-sponsored oil police who hope that they will simply leave the tribal lands they belong on so that a corporation can pump fossil fuels just under the surface of their earth.
The federal government has shown over their months of repeated silence that they don’t care to lift a finger to stop their abusive police or halt the illegal pipeline. In the absence of leadership at the national level, U.S. veterans from all over the nation have left the comfort of their heated homes to head to the icy winter of North Dakota.
Now, despite reports that the state has ordered forced evacuations (they later said they didn’t intend to force anyone to leave), as well as rumors that food and supplies were being blocked from entering the protest area (the state also denied this, but those on the ground have shared personal experiences which confirm the rumors), veterans are preparing to enter the Dakota Access Pipeline to support the protesters and create a human barrier between those who wish to demonstrate and the police forces who seek to impede them through violent means.
More than 2,000 veterans intent to assist the protest, creating a literal human shield between water protectors and police. They do not intend to fight or disrupt, merely exist peacefully in order to prevent any harm coming to those who are practicing their constitutional rights.
The veterans are expected to assemble officially on Demember 4, though many have already arrived at the campsites to prepare. Their arrival is just a day before the state-mandated evacuation date which they set after the news of the veteran’s arrival broke.
Police and state officials say that they do not plan to forcibly remove anyone on that date, but past actions indicate that those statements cannot be trusted. Considering that these same police and officials claim that no protesters have been injured by the oil police’s violent tactics, as well as making repeated false claims about the water protector’s conduct, the only word we can trust at this point are the voices of the movement on the ground at Standing Rock.
This weekend should be an interesting one as the water protectors are joined by massive forces of supporters and protectors. Will President Obama be able to continue ignoring this issue now? And can the support of these veterans enable the water protectors to continue their occupation into the new year?