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#NoDAPL Live Blog: Standing Rock Activists Take Their Cause to Hollywood

    #NoDAPL activists, including George Funmaker (seated, second from left), took part in a rally Sunday, near the site of the Academy Awards presentation. (Donald Kaufman / Truthdig)

Editor’s note: Truthdig contributor Donald Kaufman has recently returned to Los Angeles after reporting from Oceti Sakowin Camp in North Dakota on protests over the construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline. Read earlier coverage of the #NoDAPL demonstrations here. Scroll down the page to see multimedia updates via Evrybit.Sunday, Feb. 26, 7:40 p.m. PST:

Hollywood was the center of global attention over the weekend—a detail not lost on Standing Rock “water protectors” and supporters of their cause. On Sunday, dozens of demonstrators, led by activists July Huss and Kunoor Ojha in conjunction with the American Indian Movement Southern California, converged at Dorothy J. and Benjamin B. Smith Park in Los Angeles to hold a #NoDAPL rally.

The event was held near Dolby Theatre, where crowds gathered to watch nominees and film-industry insiders arrive to attend the Academy Awards presentation. At one point, the two parties nearly overlapped as the #NoDAPL activists marched close to the red carpet.

Raymond L. Kingfisher, a frequent presence over recent months at protest sites at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota, spoke at the rally, as did George Funmaker, co-founder of Red Earth Defense.

Truthdig’s Donald Kaufman covered Sunday’s rally. Watch footage he streamed from the scene via Facebook Live:

Thursday, Feb. 23, 5:22 p.m. PST: According to the Water Protector Legal Collective, the legal team for water protectors at Standing Rock, 45 people were arrested in Thursday’s police raids.

Kaufman was at Rosebud Camp, one of the two encampments cleared by police. He reported during the police intervention:

There’s no ceremony or planned demonstration, just people facing the line of police or straggling around. There are obscene amounts of police officers and militarized vehicles. It’s a bit baffling why so many police are needed.

The two camps were officially cleared by late afternoon, and Unicorn Riot reports that journalists were among those arrested. There appeared to be no violence during Thursday’s actions.

Thursday, Feb. 23, 1:40 a.m. PST: CNN reports that 10 people were arrested in total on Wednesday, although earlier reports had stated nine had been detained. CNN also reports,

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum said the remaining 25 to 50 or protesters holding out in the Oceti Sakowin camp site will be allowed to leave without being arrested so contractors can continue cleaning up the protest site near the controversial 1,172-mile long pipeline. Those who refuse to leave will be arrested.

“You know that our big ask for tomorrow is anyone remaining in the camp, we want to make sure that they know they have an opportunity to voluntarily leave,” Burgum said. “Take your belongings, remove anything that may be culturally significant and we’ll help you get on your way if you need to do that.”

Below is footage of the leaving ceremony at the camp from Time:

Wednesday, Feb. 22, 4:32 p.m. PST: The water protectors who remain in Oceti Sakowin Camp have built a fire for warmth, according to Kaufman. “It’s freezing out here,” he adds.

Cleanup of the camp is expected to begin at 9 a.m. CST Thursday, and the website BuzzFeed notes that many of the water protectors plan to stay in camp overnight.

It seems that those who stay won’t be raided by police.

“With darkness coming, we’re not going to be entering that camp right now,” Lt. Tom Iverson of the North Dakota Highway Patrol told CNN. “It’s not a safe situation with people potentially hunkered down in the camps.”

4:19 p.m. PST: Nine people were arrested for refusing to leave Oceti Sakowin Camp, according to CNN:

Lt. Tom Iverson of the North Dakota Highway Patrol said nine people were arrested at the Oceti Sakowin camp after the 2 p.m. deadline set by Gov. Doug Burgum. The nine people had refused commands to leave the area, Iverson said.

“We knew this day was going to come,” Iverson said, referring to the state deadline to close the camp for environmental and safety reasons.

Iverson said authorities had given a group of protesters who agreed to be arrested an additional two hours but that group did not materialize.

He said law enforcement were confronted by “agitators” who approached the law enforcement line “provoking them.” He said authorities were patient and gave people multiple warnings to back up and leave the roadway outside the camp entrance. Some people backed off, he said.

“The camp is closed,” Iverson said. “There are no more vehicles that will be allowed in.”

Iverson said about 50 to 75 protesters remained in the camp. It is unclear how and when those protesters will be removed.

2:54 p.m. PST:

One water protector, Eric Poemz, was streaming live video of the faceoff with police. As he attempted to run from the police line, he injured his hip and was taken into a police car shortly after. The video is interrupted after his interaction with police, which begins after the 2:57:00 mark:

2:39 p.m. PST:

“They are snatching up water protectors one at a time,” one observer reports via Facebook live. The police have begun to move their line back.

The Lakota Law Project also reports that numerous reporters aren’t being recognized as official press:

2:32 p.m. PST:

Unicorn Riot is reporting that several journalists were “seized” by the Wisconsin State Patrol. It adds that six people have been arrested thus far.

2:25 p.m. PST: Multiple outlets are reporting that law enforcement has begun to arrest those still occupying Oceti Sakowin Camp.

2:19 p.m. PST: Buzzfeed News is streaming live video from Oceti Sakowin Camp:

2:12 p.m. PST:

The Lakota Law Project is reporting that “[a]rmed police have begun to confront remaining protectors.”

It also tweeted:

And Jack Smith IV shared video:

1:45 p.m. PST:

According to Mic reporter Jack Smith IV, those remaining in Oceti Sakowin Camp are convinced that the police raid will occur soon, although the North Dakota governor’s office sent a representative who seems unsure of the situation:

1:18 p.m. PST:

All is quiet at Oceti Sakowin Camp, although people still remain. Kaufman has evacuated the camp and is stationed at Rosebud Indian Reservation across the river. He reports:

Groups of vans and cars are gathered around Oceti Sakowin, but law enforcement has not yet made a move. The camp itself is smoking; everything smells like burnt plastic. People have left behind RVs and full structures used as homes. Those who remained in camp are worried about police brutality.

12:36 p.m. PST:

Law enforcement has not yet forced the evacuation of Oceti Sakowin Camp, but officers have told the remaining water protectors to leave immediately or risk arrest. For the full story, scroll to the Evrybit multimedia at the bottom of this page.

12:02 p.m. PST: The 2 p.m. evacuation deadline (local time) has arrived. Unicorn Riot is streaming live, and one reporter remarks, “I hope we don’t get arrested.” Watch below:

11:58 a.m. PST:

Numerous structures have been set on fire in the face of impending evacuation:

11:55 a.m. PST:

Tension in camp is rising as the 2 p.m. deadline to evacuate draws closer:

Meanwhile, in Iowa, activists are arriving at the governor’s office to demonstrate resistance and urge the state to divest from Wells Fargo (similar actions have already been taken by other states):

11:47 a.m. PST:

Here is a look at some of the water protectors at Oceti Sakowin Camp on Wednesday:

11:42 a.m. PST:

The deadline to evacuate camp is in less than 20 minutes.

Not all of the water protectors left camp during the “prayer walk,” and Kaufman reports that officers of the National Park Service and the Bureau of Indian Affairs are stationed at checkpoints near Oceti Sakowin Camp.

As Unicorn Riot reported, many plan to passively resist evacuation.

The exit from the camp was full of emotion:

11:10 a.m. PST:

There is now less than one hour left until the 2 p.m. MST deadline for water protectors to clear out of Oceti Sakowin Camp. Chanting and praying, a large crowd slowly makes its way out of camp. Watch Kaufman’s coverage below:

11:06 a.m. PST:

Website Unicorn Riot is also covering Wednesday’s actions at Standing Rock. Below, an indigenous elder explains how some plan to passively resist evacuation of the camp:

10:43 a.m. PST:

After engaging in a drum circle and chanting, many are exiting Oceti Sakowin Camp ahead of the 2 p.m. deadline. Water protectors are marching out of the camp, singing and praying. For another live stream from the camp, check out Truthdig contributor Michael Nigro’s Facebook live stream.

10:31 a.m. PST: Kaufman is streaming live video footage from Oceti Sakowin Camp to Truthdig’s Facebook page.

—Posted by Emma Niles

9:38 a.m. PST: Truthdig contributor Donald Kaufman is prevented from accessing Oceti Sakowin Camp. Scroll down to the bottom of this page to see the video embedded via Evrybit.

9:26 a.m. PST: Kaufman says the Bureau of Indian Affairs is blocking the only road that provides access to the camp. “The guy wouldn’t talk to me and grabbed me to push me in the car,” Kaufman says. “When I was asking him questions he said he was from BIA” and “refused to give a reason” for blocking the road.

8:50 a.m. PST: Kaufman says people are calm in the camp. The eviction is planned for 2 p.m.

* * *

Reporting from the Oceti Sakowin encampment in North Dakota, Truthdig contributor Donald Kaufman says authorities are preparing to forcibly disband the site, where unarmed, indigenous people and their allies, who call themselves “water protectors,” are resisting efforts to install the Dakota Access oil pipeline.

Follow developments from Kaufman and others here.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly

Emma Niles
Assistant Editor
Emma Niles, an assistant editor at Truthdig, graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz, with a degree in political science. She has worked for the National Women’s Law Center and Ms. Magazine.…
Emma Niles

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