Demonstrators protest the Dakota Access pipeline outside a federal courthouse in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. (Clara Romeo / Truthdig)

Activists opposing the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) made a strong showing of support Wednesday outside a courthouse in Washington, D.C. The self-described “water protectors” rallied while representatives of the Standing Rock Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes appeared before U.S. District Judge James Boasberg as part of a status hearing in their case against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Despite months of protests, the corps has allowed the oil pipeline to operate near tribal lands.

Last week, the judge ruled in favor of the tribes by ordering the corps to “reconsider” its risk analysis of the controversial pipeline. Wednesday’s rally, according to a press release by organizers Rising Hearts Coalition, “will … provide remedy options in how to move forward for both parties.”

“Oil still flows,” states the event page for the rally. “But this is a crucial victory in the fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline.”

A flag from Wednesday’s rally outside the federal courthouse in Washington, D.C. (Clara Romeo / Truthdig)

The rally was also supported by the International Indigenous Youth Council and Honor the Earth.

Truthdig correspondent Clara Romeo was on scene for the #NoDAPL rally and provided live video of speakers at the event. Watch parts 1 and 2 below:

Jordan Marie Daniel, the founder and organizer of Rising Hearts Coalition, hosted the rally, which featured reporter Sebi Medina-Tayac (seen playing the drums in the above videos) and the Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr., an activist who spoke to the crowd.

Yearwood, who is also president and CEO of the nonprofit organization Hip Hop Caucus, urged activists to get involved and drew comparisons between the #NoDAPL movement and Black Lives Matter.

The pipeline, he argued, will carry “crude oil that will be refined in Chicago, or in Detroit, or in Milwaukee.”

“We can stop that pollution from harming and killing babies in the ’hood,” Yearwood Jr. said.

Later, Earthjustice attorney Jan Hasselman, who is representing the Standing Rock Sioux in their case against the Corps of Engineers, gave an update to the crowd.

“One of the things we talked about in court today is that if the Corps of Engineers goes into a room and closes the door, and comes up with a new analysis, we won’t have moved this ball forward,” Hasselman said. “Our position is that this needs to be an open process, this needs to bring in the public, and it needs to consult with the tribes and experts. And we are going to be asking the court to order that if they won’t do it themselves.”

Hasselman also addressed what would happen to the DAPL “in the interim” as the pipeline’s risk is reassessed, noting that it would take several more months for a decision on that aspect of the case to be made.

Watch his full remarks in the video below (sound quality is poor):

The fight against the DAPL has received renewed interest in the past month, in part due to the tribe’s partial victory in court. A set of leaked documents, however, has also added fuel to the fire: The Intercept reported last month that a private security firm, TigerSwan, was hired by Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the DAPL, to suppress the water protectors’ activities.

On Wednesday, the chief counsel of the Lakota People’s Law Project, Daniel Sheehan, addressed TigerSwan’s actions at Standing Rock. Sheehan noted that Lakota People’s Law Project lead counsel Chase Iron Eyes was specifically targeted by TigerSwan, according to the leaked documents. Watch his remarks below:

“This trial is about exposing this racially motivated hypocrisy, and all elements of the illegal, corporate-sponsored, state-executed violence that occurred at Standing Rock,” Sheehan said in a separate press release. “It is about shedding light on the dark alliance between the oil industry and the Trump administration.”

Find past coverage of the fight against the DAPL here.

—Posted by Emma Niles

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