Monday, November 07, 2016

DAKOTA PIPELINE - President Obama's Reroute?

aka "Riot Police attacks at Dakota Access Pipeline, a reminder of the '60s black vote marches in the south."

"Tensions escalating in Dakota Access pipeline standoff, Obama suggests reroute" PBS NewsHour 11/2/2016


SUMMARY:  At least 140 people were arrested while occupying land in the path of the controversial Dakota Access pipeline in the past week.  President Obama has urged peaceful protests and restraint from law enforcement.  William Brangham speaks with Lynda Mapes of The Seattle Times about the extreme tension and fear of violence on the ground, reaction to the Oregon standoff acquittals and more.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  In North Dakota, the standoff over the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline keeps growing, as riot police cleared protesters blocking the pipeline's construction.

William Brangham has the latest.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM (NewsHour):  In the past week, at least 140 people were arrested while occupying land in the pipeline's path, including one woman charged with allegedly shooting at police.  No one was injured.

Native Americans and environmentalists say the pipeline will destroy sacred sites and threaten the drinking water of the Standing Rock Sioux TribeThe 1,200-mile-long, nearly $4 billion pipeline would carry 500,000 gallons of crude oil daily across four states.

Yesterday, President Obama weighed in on the fight in an interview with the Web site Now This News.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:  There's an obligation for protesters to be peaceful.  And there's an obligation for authorities to show restraint.

And I want to make sure that, as everybody is exercising their constitutional rights to be heard, that both sides are refraining from situations that might result in people being hurt.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM:  For more on this, I'm joined now by Seattle Times reporter Lynda Mapes, who's just back from North Dakota.

Lynda, thank you so much for being here.

Could you just tell us, what has it been like?  You were just there recently.  What is it like?  What did you see?

LYNDA MAPES, The Seattle Times:  Well, it was scary, honestly.

I was there with a Seattle Times photographer, Ellen Banner, and we truly were wondering minute to minute whether someone was going to get killed.  We were in camp the night before with tribal members who were singing their death songs.  I mean, they were very worried about the possibility of violence.

And who wouldn't be?  You have seen law enforcement marshaled from six states, armored personnel carriers, hundreds and hundreds of law enforcement officers with concussion grenades, mace, Tasers, batons.  And they used all of it.  I mean, it was frightening to watch.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM:  And when you say that they were using this, can you sort of describe the situation in which — we tend to see images of riots or protests, and we think of an equal clash between both sides.  What kinds of things did you witness?

LYNDA MAPES:  Well, the demonstrators are vastly outnumbered.  There's no question about that.

And, in many cases, they were literally sitting, arms locked, praying when they were arrested.  This changed as the standoff went on.  It all started on Thursday morning around 10:30.  It went on all through the day, all through the night, into the next day.  And, by the next day, Friday morning, demonstrators had burned two trucks on a bridge and had erected a makeshift plywood barrier.  They had a pile of rocks.

Meanwhile, the law enforcement officers had advance more than 100 yards with five armored personnel carriers side by side, hundreds of law enforcement officers advancing on them.  And it finally took an [Tribal] Elder to actually walk by himself in between the two lines, stand there, face his people, and say:  “Go home.  We're here to fight the pipeline, not these people, and we can only win this with prayer.

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