This police treatment of environmental protesters in the US is absolutely shocking [VIDEO]

Support us and go ad-free

People from around the world joined a day of action on 15 November against the controversial Dakota Access pipeline in the US. And as protesters raised their voices, more reports of police abuses came to light.

Criticism of the pipeline

The $3.7bn (£2.8bn) Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) in North Dakota has drawn several worldwide protests in recent months. At the centre are the Standing Rock Sioux Native Americans. They say the pipeline could pollute their main water supply, and that of 17 million other people. They also say it would cross over its sacred ancestral burial grounds and archaeological sites.

Anti-globalisation and environmental activists, meanwhile, argue that the pipeline will greatly increase fossil fuel emissions. Their most recent day of action coincided with November’s UN climate summit in Morocco.

Police abuses

While protests have generally been peaceful, police have been making mass arrests. They even issued an arrest warrant against award-winning Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman after she filmed pipeline security guards using dogs and pepper spray against protesters. Meanwhile, there have been accusations that the police have been “viciously attacking” activists and keeping protesters in kennel-like confinement.

Tara Houska, national campaigns director for environmental group Honor the Earth, has now described her own treatment at the hands of police. Speaking on 16 November, she said:

I was arrested for criminal trespass as I was… leaving a peaceful demonstration and getting into my car on a public road. They arrested us and zip-tied us on the side of the road for two hours. We were then thrown into jail… and put in… a large chainmail dog kennel, for over six hours, while they didn’t even actually charge us with crimes. After that, I was strip-searched and then thrown into jail and, finally, late, late that evening, was charged with a crime…

She also insisted:

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

this is happening right now. Native people are being hurt right now. There were people being maced and tased again yesterday [15 November].

Political prospects

But on 14 November, there seemed to be some hope for campaigners. The US Army Corps of Engineers, which is responsible for the planning permission for the pipeline, announced it was holding back the final permit to drill. It said there would need to be further discussion and analysis. But Energy Transport Partners, which is building the pipeline, is taking the issue to court. It insists that it already has the right to build the pipeline without any further actions or permits from the Army Corps.

And US President-elect Donald Trump is on the company’s side. He is an investor in Energy Transport Partners. Its Chief Executive, meanwhile, donated more than $100,000 to Trump’s election campaign. Trump also backs measures to increase energy industry development and upgrade US oil and gas infrastructure. It is perhaps unsurprising, then, that Energy Transfer Partners head Kelcy Warren has said he’s 100% confident that Trump will support the pipeline’s completion.


But former presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders, who opposes the pipeline, spoke up for protesters outside the White House on 15 November. He urged President Obama to stop the pipeline before Trump takes over, and stressed the urgency of the issue:

I don’t have to tell anybody here that we have a new president coming in… who wants this country to become more dependent on fossil fuel… What we have got to tell Mr Trump and everybody else: We are not going silently into the night. The stakes are too high for the future of this planet… We’re going to bring tens of millions of people, moms and dads and their kids, together… to tell the fossil fuel industry that their short-term profits are not more important than the future of our planet.

In other words, this isn’t over yet.

Get Involved!

Find out more about the proposed pipeline.

Support the Sacred Stone Camp UK Network on Facebook.

–  Donate to the Standing Rock Sioux Tzribe Dakota Access Pipeline fund.

– Find out how to support the protest.

– Read more from The Canary on the pipeline.

Featured image via Democracy Now!/YouTube

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed