Inhumane Treatment Of DAPL Water Protectors
DAPL Water Protectors: Reports of police responding to “rioters” and their tactical movements this past Sunday, November 20 have been circulating through mainstream media. However, pictures, videos, and one account from a daring water protector paint a contradictory picture – and it’s a nightmare.
In 26 degree weather last Sunday, water protectors began to gather on Backwater Bridge, removing two vehicles that were earlier set ablaze, and attempting to march north, praying and singing, when they were met by police riot ready.
“I was eating with a couple friends, when we went out to see everyone going to the bridge, so we just went with them,” voiced one water protector who wished not to be named. “That’s when we heard they [protesters] moved the burned vehicles with a semi.”
The water protector ran down to the gathering to find what could be described as the beginning of chaos.
“When I got there, there were people on the bridge and sides. They were singing and praying. I was on the back right at the beginning of the bridge, then I seen what I thought was mace, but it was the police using water cannons. They were trying to move them back, but the people stood their ground.”
At this point the aggression from the police only grew worse, using what they refer to as non-lethal weapons such as tear gas and mace. However, the use of the concussion grenade is arguable. The police utilizing them resulted in a young woman, Sophia Wilansky, to be severely injured and facing possible amputation of her left arm.
“They started to shoot out tear gas and the water protectors threw them out [of the crowd].” Continued the water protector, “They shot more on the sides to disperse the crowds, then they shot a concussion grenade above the crowd on the bridge. They continued to shoot more tear gas and a couple concussion grenades and then I heard the rubber bullets being fired. I seen them shoot one concussion grenade straight into the front, and that’s when Sophia was blasted on the arm. After I seen like 4 guys carrying her across the bridge. All I could hear were people coughing from the gas, crying and throwing up. It was too much.”
According to Valley News, law enforcement accused the protesters of throwing rocks, burning logs, using slingshots, and igniting fires.
“All I have seen is people throwing water bottles,” accounted the water protector. “We tell them not to throw anything, to not escalate the tension, but when they do we pull them back and find out who they are. Obviously, DAPL will send in people to play along, but when we go to pray, they’ll throw stuff to make it seem like it was us.
We know not to escalate anything. We go in peace and prayer. We don’t go to riot or to hurt.”
As for the fires, ABC news reported they were started by protesters in order to keep warm. This water protector recounted a very different sequence of events.
“The cops started to drive over to the hills. That’s when they [water protectors] started to ask [fellow] water protectors to run to the left to create a line. The cops tried to start fires but there was frost on the grass so it didn’t get too big.”
When asked why he believed they fires were ignited by the police, he responded,
“I think they did that because they know we’ll go extinguish it, then they’ll [the police] will have a chance to ambush them, and arrest them.”
RT notes that fires were set off by police projectiles, suggesting the claim that they were kindled by the protesters is inaccurate.
The presence of the Water Protectors signifies the defending of the drinking water from the Missouri River and Lake Oahe, the protection of ancient sacred lands, the potential burst of the pipeline, and the rise against corporate greed.
“I am here to protest this pipeline.” The Water Protector expressed intensely. “I’m sick of seeing these corporations killing our planet. The world is basically screwed, but there is hope.”