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#NoDAPL Live Blog: 13 Sioux Officials Pen Letter to President Obama

#NoDAPL Live Blog: 13 Sioux Officials Pen Letter to President Obama

#NoDAPL Live Blog: 13 Sioux Officials Pen Letter to President Obama

Nearly a foot of snow has blanketed Standing Rock since Monday. (Standing Rock Rising / Facebook)

Editor's note: Scroll down to see the live multimedia updates embedded in the Evrybit story at the bottom of this post. Read Truthdig contributor Donald Kaufman's firsthand accounts of the water protector movement here and here.2:07 p.m. PST Wednesday:The Washington Post

reported that Ed Ou, an award-winning photojournalist, was detained for hours on the Canadian-U.S. border on his way to cover the #NoDAPL demonstrations. The Post stated:

If Ou had already been inside the U.S. border, law enforcement officers would have needed a warrant to search his smartphones to comply with a 2014 Supreme Court ruling. But the journalist learned the hard way that the same rules don't apply at the border, where the government claims the right to search electronic devices without a warrant or any suspicion of wrongdoing. ...

Ou said he's unclear about why he was detained. One agent told him his name was the same as a "person of interest" on the watch list of an unspecified law enforcement agency, but later said the name match was not the "official" reason he was denied entry, according to Ou. ...

When the phones were returned hours later, it was clear that someone had tampered with the SIM cards and potentially made copies of data on the devices, he said. Because the phones were encrypted, Ou is not sure how much — if any — information they were able to access.

The ACLU is asking that the government destroy any copies of Ou’s data it obtained during his detainment. It is also requesting an explanation for why he was stopped and assurances that he won’t face similar treatment going forward.

Hugh Handeyside of the American Civil Liberties Union wrote a letter to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security expressing concerns over Ou's detention.

"Mr. Ou’s experience at the border raises troubling questions about whether the decision to deny him entry to the United States was either in retaliation for his work as a journalist or intended to prevent him from reporting on protests over planned pipeline construction in North Dakota," Handeyside wrote.

10:17 a.m. PST Wednesday: Yesterday, "water protectors" sued those allegedly responsible for excessive force during peaceful demonstrations. Indian Country Today Media Network reports:

On Monday November 28 the Water Protector Legal Collective (formerly the Red Owl Legal Collective) sued Morton County, Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier and other law enforcement agencies in U.S. District Court for their alleged use of “excessive force against peaceful water protectors” on Sunday, November 20, when rubber bullets, mace, pepper spray and freezing water were deployed overnight during a standoff at a bridge on Highway 1806. Dozens of people were injured, including 21-year-old New Yorker Sophia Wilansky, who is still waiting to find out whether she’ll lose her arm.

The class action suit was filed on behalf of the injured and “seeks an immediate injunction preventing the Morton County Sheriff’s Department and other law enforcement from using impact munitions such as rubber bullets and lead-filled ‘beanbags,’ water cannons and hoses, explosive teargas grenades and other chemical agents against protesters,” the group said in its statement.

Despite Gov. Jack Dalrymple's orders to evacuate, "water protectors" and their supporters are still standing strong. In fact, around 2,000 veterans are expected to arrive at the #NoDAPL encampments in the coming days to participate in the demonstrations as “human shields.” The New York Times reports:

The effort, called Veterans Stand for Standing Rock, is planned as a nonviolent intervention to defend the demonstrators from what the group calls “assault and intimidation at the hands of the militarized police force.” ...

The veterans’ effort will also run up against a plan by the Army Corps of Engineers to close off access to the protesters’ campsite and create a “free speech zone.” Federal officials said anyone found on the land after Dec. 5 could be charged with trespassing.

“Yeah, good luck with that,” Michael A. Wood Jr., a founder of the veterans’ event, said in an interview.

The "water protectors" are also receiving support from Hollywood. Musician Neil Young and his girlfriend, actor Daryl Hannah, posted a statement of support on Young's Facebook page:

A few weeks ago we traveled to visit the Standing Rock Sioux In North Dakota. We arrived at this unprecedented historical gathering of over five hundred tribes and thousands of others standing on the front lines to protect water, to state the most basic human truth, to say water is life. Despite the painful history, today they fight peacefully for us all. ...

All here together, with their non-native relatives, standing strong in the face of outrageous, unnecessary and violent aggression, on the part of militarized local and state law enforcement agencies and National Guard, who are seemingly acting to protect the interests of the Dakota Access Pipeline profiteers, at a cost of hundreds of thousands of tax-payer dollars, above all other expressed concerns. They stand against corporate security forces, the county sheriff and the National Guard. Standing while being hit with water cannons, mace, tear gas, rubber bullets. Standing without weapons and praying, the water protectors endure human rights abuses in sub freezing temperatures. Supplies arrive from all over as the social media universe shares the heartbreaking news to the world, that an American corporate media is not free to report. Thus, it is the ugliness of corporate America, seen around the world.

Young and Hannah then called on President Obama to "step in and end the violence against the peaceful "water protectors" at Standing Rock immediately." If that weren't enough of a show of support, Young also posted a short song dedicated to the #NoDAPL movement:

Young and Hannah aren't the first big Hollywood names to speak up about Standing Rock--they join actress Shailene Woodley, who was previously arrested for her participation in peaceful protests and who recently spoke about how to be an ally to indigenous people. Watch her interview with Tracy Rector of Longhouse Media below:

11:39 a.m. PST Tuesday:

In another disturbing update from Standing Rock, Reuters reports:

North Dakota law enforcement will begin to block supplies from reaching protesters at a camp near the construction site of an oil pipeline project in an effort to force demonstrators to vacate the area, officials said on Tuesday. ...

Supplies, including food and building materials, will be blocked from entering the main camp following Governor Jack Dalrymple's signing of an "emergency evacuation" order on Monday, said Maxine Herr, a spokeswoman from the Morton County Sheriff's Department.

"They have deliveries, retailers that are delivering to them -- we will turn around any of those services," she said.

The order was effective immediately. As of Tuesday morning, however, no vehicles carrying supplies had been turned back, said Cecily Fong, a spokeswoman for the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services.

10:14 a.m. PST Tuesday:

North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple is helping to oust #NoDAPL demonstrators from encampments on federal land. On Monday, Dalrymple ordered an "emergency evacuation" of the camps supposedly because of the weather. Reuters reports:

Late Monday, Standing Rock Chairman Dave Archambault II denounced Dalrymple's order as a "menacing action meant to cause fear," and accused the Republican governor of trying to "usurp and circumvent federal authority."

Archambault noted that the evacuation order, which the governor said he issued for the campers' well-being in the face of dangerous winter weather, came a week after police turned water hoses on protesters in sub-freezing temperatures. ...

The governor did not specify how he intended to enforce his order other than by directing state and local agencies to refuse emergency assistance and other services to anyone who remained at the site. He said the order was effective immediately and would stay in force "until rescinded."

But Standing Rock Sioux spokeswoman Phyllis Young told a news conference Monday night the tribe would stand its ground.

"We have lived for generations in this setting. That is our camp. We will continue to provide for our people there," she said. "This is Lakota territory. This is treaty territory, and no one else has jurisdiction there."

As Dalrymple noted, the weather is increasingly harsh. A winter storm warning was issued for parts of North Dakota on Monday night, and Standing Rock has since received almost a foot of snow, according to the Standing Rock Rising Facebook page:

Caravaning on route 6 in #northdakota en route to #standingrock #nodapl #dapl

A video posted by Angela Jimenez Photography (@angelasnappy) on Nov 29, 2016 at 10:29am PST

None of this has deterred the water protectors, who previously stated that they would remain at Standing Rock regardless of the weather.

2:06 p.m. PST Saturday: A critical new development in the situation in North Dakota unfolded late Friday when the Army Corps of Engineers ordered the abandonment of one of the main encampments at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. The Army Corps, the main force behind the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline, sent a letter to the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, as NBC News reports:

Citing increased violence between protesters and law enforcement and the increasingly harsh winter conditions, the Army Corps said it decided to close its land to the protesters who have been there since early April. This will shut down the Oceti Sakowin camp, which is one of the three camps located near the construction site.

"Today we were notified by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that on Dec. 5th, they will close all lands north of the Cannonball River, which is where the Oceti Sakowin camp is located," Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II said in a statement. "The letter states that the lands will be closed to public access for safety concerns, and that they will allow for a 'free speech zone' south of the Cannonball River on Army Corps lands."

The Army Corps notes in its letter that it "has established a free speech zone" for "anyone wishing to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline project." On social media, many users pointed out this unusual section of the letter:

What would happen to anyone still residing in the Oceti Sakowin camp after Dec. 5 is unclear. "Since the Army Corps does not have its own law enforcement personnel, it is unclear who would potentially enforce trespassing charges," Unicorn Riot reports. "Any operation to disband the Oceti Sakowin encampment could possibly be carried out by Bureau of Indian Affairs federal police who are active in the area, the North Dakota National Guard, or possibly the Morton County Sheriff and assisting agencies who have thus far been permitted to come onto some Army Corps lands to carry out field force operations against water protectors."

Also on Friday, Sheriff Gary Schwartzenberger—who oversees McKenzie County in North Dakota—was suspended from his position by Gov. Jack Dalrymple. "The petition for removal was made by the county’s acting State’s Attorney Todd Schwarz on Oct. 24, alleging the sheriff is guilty of misconduct, malfeasance, crime in office, neglect of duty or gross incompetency," states The Bismarck Tribune. "The Village Business Institute found grounds to remove the sheriff based on harassment and intimidation amid concerns that he fostered a quasi-military environment."

1:25 p.m. PST Friday: Thousands gathered at Standing Rock for peaceful prayer circles and demonstrations on Thanksgiving Day. NPR reports:

[L]ed by the International Indigenous Youth Council, protesters — or water protectors, as they identify themselves — built a floating bridge near the camp in an effort to cross a creek to Turtle Island, which is considered sacred ground. After they crossed, protesters gathered in a prayer circle, marking the moment by holding hands and singing.

"There was a lot of ceremony and prayer and song and it was beautiful," said Vanessa Red Bull, a medic from the Cherokee nation, who has been at the camp for several months. She describes a humanizing scene, where despite the tension, police and protesters were able to converse without clashing.

"Everybody peacefully went home, even though these actions lasted multiple hours. It was peaceful. No one got hurt, and at the end of the day as a medic, that's what we hope for."

The violent origins of Thanksgiving made yesterday's peaceful action all the more significant. "Given what we are currently fighting against, Thanksgiving is not really a celebration for us," Dallas Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network told ABC News.

"It's a day to remember what the real story is and acknowledge that we're still here, and our ancestors fought and died for us to be here," Tara Houska, the national campaigns director for Honor the Earth, told The Guardian.

Check out photos and video from Thanksgiving Day at Standing Rock below:

Truthdig contributor Donald Kaufman, who is reporting on the Standing Rock activity, also sent photos from Thanksgiving Day:

However, more direct actions took place in the nearby town of Mandan, N.D. Unicorn Riot reports that a "banquet" was laid out in an intersection.

"Vegetables, a puppet of a crucified pilgrim and a pig’s head all sat atop banners that read 'No Dakota Access Pipeline' and 'Fuck Genocidal Appreciation Day,' " Unicorn Riot reports. "During this time, police made at least two arrests, and at least one person has been hospitalized from injuries sustained during their arrest."

8:11 a.m. PST Friday: At Yes! Magazine, Jenni Monet reports: "North Dakota is stretched thin in its battle to protect the Dakota Access pipeline construction: Costs are nearing $15 million, and police reinforcements are diminishing." She adds: "The courts are taxed. The jail is burdened. The 34 local law enforcement officers are stressed."

Monet also suggests that phone calls to authorities from supporters of the demonstrators are influencing authorities' decision-making.

All this comes amid an increasingly loud public outcry against the militarized policing.

Organized campaigns to contact the people and agencies responsible for sending officers and equipment to aid Morton County in the assaults on water protectors have in some cases been effective. YES! Magazine published that contact information Oct. 31, and in less than a month, the Facebook post had reached more than half a million people with commenters trading stories about their experiences making complaints. The article has been published by media worldwide.

It was intense public response that led Montana’s Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin to literally turn his detail around. He and his deputies were en route to Morton County when Gov. Steve Bullock raised concerns about the potential misuse of the interstate statute. The Emergency Management Assistance Compact obligates law enforcement around the country to fulfill requests for aid under any form of emergency or disaster.

“I got messages from England, Poland, New Zealand, Australia,” Gootkin recalled. And he received phone calls and hundreds of emails from his constituents, too—people that may have elected him sheriff. They were concerned about the use of force on protesters, Oct. 27, he said, and also had been affected by the public outrage from Minneapolis’ Hennepin County.

Gootkin said the callers and emailers believed the EMAC was meant for natural disasters and catastrophic events like 9/11, not for protecting a corporation’s pipeline construction. All that caused Sheriff Gootkin to change his mind. He turned to Facebook to post his decision to stand down on Standing Rock: “Although my actions were well-intentioned, you made it clear that you do not want your Sheriff’s Office involved in this conflict. One of the biggest differences of an elected Sheriff from other law enforcement leaders is that I am directly accountable to the people I serve (YOU).”

It was not an easy choice to make, Gootkin said. “I wanted to go and help my fellow law enforcement.” Then, he raised a question that has begun to rattle many communities across America lately. “I just don’t understand where we separated from the public. It really breaks my heart. We are not the enemy.”

2:57 p.m. PST Thursday:

Aaron Murphy sent along the video below and a photo, above, showing footage from the night of Nov. 20, when law enforcement officers surrounded #NoDAPL demonstrators on a bridge near the Oceti Sakowin camp in North Dakota and fired at them using tear gas, water cannons, rubber bullets, concussion grenades and noise cannons.

In the video, demonstrators give first-person accounts of the clash: "I got shot, I got maced ... I don't care, I'm going back over there for my brothers and sisters because we made a move."

A medic on the scene chimes in: "What I see makes me feel very angry," he says, describing a series of common injuries and ailments -- potential brain injuries from rubber bullets, effects of tear gas and mace, hypothermia -- that he and his team were treating.

When the off-camera interviewer suggests that "this sounds like war," the medic responds: "It pretty much is war right now, except it's a one-sided war where people aren't doing anything, and they're being attacked. This is not war -- it's an attack."

Watch the full clip below (Aaron Murphy via Facebook):

11:49 a.m. PST Wednesday: Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., penned a letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch earlier this week, imploring her to protect the demonstrators. It reads:

Dear Attorney General Lynch, I am extremely concerned after hearing reports of dangerous clashes between police and protesters of the Dakota Access Pipeline project near Cannon Ball, ND. The reported use of water cannons for crowd control in sub-freezing temperatures is excessive and unnecessary, and I urge you to take action to protect the First Amendment rights ofprotestors, and the physical safety of all involved parties.

Video of the incident appears to show that the water cannons were not simply being used for fire control, or even crowd control, but were often directed at small crowds or even individual protesters. Combined with the onset of wintry weather, water cannons are extremely dangerous and potentially lethal weapons, and I urge you to investigate their use on protesters.

On November 14, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that additioual analysis of the Dakota Access Pipeline project is necessary and invited the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to engage due to potential impact of a pipeline leak on the Tribe's drinking water supply. In the interim, the Army Corps has made clear that pipeline construction under Lake Oahe — where the Tribe gets its drinking water — cannot occur without a federal easement.

Native American populations have struggled for decades under the complex burden of historical trauma, and I have witnessed and admired how these communities have turned to their cultural foundations to build strength against that burden. These tactics against protesters exercising their Constitutional rights threaten to add another layer of trauma to these communities. I urge you to do everything in your power to prevent further escalation of violence. Thank you for your attention to this matter.

While it seems that someone else has finally joined Sen. Bernie Sanders in speaking up about the "water protectors," many Democrats remain silent. "This is likely because the Dakota Access Pipeline is being funded by some of the most prolific donors to the Democratic Party," Counterpunch declares. "Sunoco Logistics Partners is set to acquire Energy Transfer Partners, the company constructing the pipeline, while Sunoco will oversee its operation. The owners of the company primarily consist of Wall Street firms, including Goldman Sachs."

Fortune provides more information on Sunoco's acquisition of Energy Transfer Partners:

Pipeline companies Sunoco Logistics Partners and Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), both of which are controlled by general partner Energy Transfer Equity, said on Monday they would combine in a corporate consolidation to cut borrowing and operating costs.

ETP is the main company behind the controversial $3.7 billion Dakota Access Pipeline, which has been delayed since September, when federal regulators decided to re-review permitting for the project to cross land owned by the federal government.

The companies said they expect the combined company’s greater scale and diversity to strengthen its balance sheet and projected that the deal will create more than $200 million in yearly commercial cost savings by 2019.

The pipeline corporation will remain in the hands of Dallas billionaire Kelcy Warren. The deal "will combine and simplify a network of giant pipeline firms controlled by" Warren, Market Watch states.

6:32 p.m. PST Tuesday: A special gathering is slated to take place on Thursday at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. A delegation of 50 people from around the country—actress Jane Fonda, Code Pink co-founder Jodie Evans and author Judy Wicks among them—are converging at the Oceti Sakowin camp for a "Wopila Feast." (Wopila means "thank you" in Lakota.) The participants will honor and serve dinner to 500 Native American water protectors who have been demonstrating against the Dakota Access pipeline project.

“Our purpose is to give back to Native Americans—the Standing Rock Sioux and representatives of over 300 native tribes from throughout the Americas who have joined them in support," Wicks said in a statement. Evans added, "The wisdom this country was founded on came from the native people and in this time of forgetting we need to come back to the well of wisdom and the depth of a culture of peace to remember and to serve."

Truthdig will follow along as the Wopila Feast takes place. Watch for updates on Thursday.

2:42 p.m. PST Tuesday: The Standing Rock Medic & Healer Council has released new information about the condition of 21-year-old activist Sophia Wilansky, who was taken to the hospital and initially declared to be in critical condition after Sunday night's clash with law enforcement left her with a severely injured arm. Wilansky's father also provided a statement:

A grenade exploded right as it hit Sophia in the left forearm taking most of the undersurface of her left arm with it. Both her radial and ulnar artery were completely destroyed. Her radius was shattered and a large piece of it is missing. Her medial nerve is missing a large section as well. All of the muscle and soft tissue between her elbow and wrist were blown away. The police did not do this by accident - it was an intentional act of throwing it directly at her. ...

Sophia will have surgery again tomorrow as bit by bit they try to rebuild a somewhat functioning arm and hand. The first surgery took a vein from her leg which they have implanted in her arm to take the place of the missing arteries. She will need multiple surgeries to try to gain some functional use of the arm and hand. She will be, every day for the foreseeable future, fearful of losing her arm and hand. There are no words to describe the pain of watching my daughter cry and say she was sorry for the pain she caused me and my wife. I died a thousand deaths today and will continue to do so for quite some time. I am left without the right words to describe the anguish of watching her look at her now alien arm and hand.

Additionally, the ACLU has been keeping a running list of the law enforcement agencies intervening in the #NoDAPL demonstrations, assembled from the Morton County Sheriff’s Department and media accounts. According to the list, currently, a total of 75 different law enforcement organizations have provided assistance to the Morton County Sheriff's Department.

11:02 a.m. PST Tuesday: At least one person is in critical condition after hundreds of "water protectors" were hit with water cannons, mace and rubber bullets during Sunday night's clash with police, Democracy Now! reports:

In Minneapolis, 21-year-old activist Sophia Wilansky is in critical condition and has been undergoing a series of surgeries, after reportedly being hit by a concussion grenade during the police attack against water protectors fighting the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline in North Dakota Sunday night. ...

Wilansky was evacuated and airlifted to a Minneapolis hospital. After hours of surgery, she posted on Facebook early this morning that her arm has not been amputated, but she will not know for another week whether amputation might be required. The Morton County Sheriff’s Department is claiming the police are not responsible for her injury. Wilansky is from New York City and has organized against the construction of pipelines, including the AIM Spectra pipeline, in New York and across the East Coast.

Wilansky's father reportedly released images of her injury (warning: extremely graphic).

According to the Standing Rock Medic & Healer Council, approximately 300 people were injured during Sunday's confrontation with law enforcement. In a statement issued on its Facebook page, the council wrote:

These 300 injuries were the direct result of excessive force by police over the course of 10 hours. At least 26 seriously injured people had to be evacuated by ambulance to 3 area hospitals.

Police continuously assaulted demonstrators with up to three water cannons for the first 7 hours of this incident in subfreezing temperatures dipping to 22F (-5.5C) causing hypothermia in the majority of patients treated. Chemical weapons in the form of pepper spray and tear gas were also used extensively, requiring chemical decontamination for nearly all patients treated and severe reactions in many. Projectiles in the form of tear gas canisters, rubber bullets, and concussion grenades led to numerous blunt force traumas including head wounds, lacerations, serious orthopedic injuries, eye trauma, and internal bleeding.

Amnesty International is reportedly sending a fourth delegation to North Dakota in the wake of Sunday's violence, and the organization's U.S. executive director, Margaret Huangin, wrote a letter to the Morton County Sheriff's Department condemning police tactics.

"Amnesty International is writing to convey its concern regarding the use of force by Morton County Sheriff’s Department (MCSD) against 'water protectors' who are protesting against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota," the letter reads. "The U.S. government is obligated under international law to respect, protect, and fulfill the human rights of Indigenous people, including the rights to freedom of expression and assembly. It is the legitimate right of people to peacefully express their opinion. Public assemblies should not be considered as the 'enemy'. The command hierarchy must convey a clear message to law enforcement officials that their task is to facilitate and not to restrict a peaceful public assembly."

Truthdig contributor Sonali Kolhatkar spoke with Nick Tilsen, executive director of Thunder Valley Community Development Corp. and a member of the Oglala Lakota tribe. Tilsen was present during Sunday night's confrontation. Watch the interview below:

9:57 a.m. PST Monday:

The group, Organized Allies of Standing Rock, released a statement about Sunday night's police confrontation with "peacefully assembled" "water protectors":

Last night, hundreds of people, in below freezing weather, were doused with water cannons, hit with percussion grenades, sprayed with mace, hit with rubber bullets and tear gas, and suffered colonial violence yet again. Water protectors, for nearly a month, have been held off from removing a barricade put in place for the protection of the Oceti Sakowin, Sacred Stone, and Rosebud encampments as threats of the Army Corps of Engineers and the Morton County Sheriffs clearing out camp mounted. People attempted to peacefully remove the barricade and were attacked for doing so. An elder went into cardiac arrest on the frontline. People were trapped on a bridge and forced either breathe in tear gas so badly they vomited and couldn’t hold their bladders or trample each other, hundreds are experiencing hypothermia, all because we want to be free.

The media is running “news” from last night with the Morton County Sheriff’s press releases as the only source, a complete failure to uphold the tenets of objective journalism. The Morton County Sheriff is saying they didn’t fire water cannons on anyone, that they were just “putting out fires”. Many, many live videos show the opposite occurring. We call on them to TELL THE TRUTH.

Secondly, we call on President Obama to create and sign an executive order that cancels the Dakota Access Pipeline like he did with the Keystone XL. We call on the President to instruct the Army Corps of Engineers to no longer “wait and see” when they need to determine an “appropriate response” to Dakota Access drilling under the Missouri River without an easement permit, which they are. How much longer will one of the most allegedly progressive Presidents in history allow people to be brutalized under his watch?

We call on President Obama to not let Trump be the bad guy who handles this. We call on him to be the change he promised when he was campaigning to be President. We call on him to uphold his words of hope.

9:36 a.m. PST Monday:

Truthdig correspondent Donald Kaufman reports on the clash between police and the water protectors. Police used rubber bullets, tear gas, mace, water cannons and "some kind of flash or stun grenade" against peaceful activists seeking to protect habitat from construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline Sunday night, says Kaufman.

6:15 a.m. PST Monday: “They were attacked with water cannons,” said LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, a Standing Rock Sioux tribe member and founder of the Sacred Stone camp, speaking to The Guardian about the police attack on the water protectors Sunday evening. “It is 23 degrees ... out there with mace, rubber bullets, pepper spray, etc. They are being trapped and attacked. Pray for my people.”

According to Jade Begay, a spokeswoman for the Indigenous Environmental Network, 167 people were injured and seven were taken to the hospital.

The Guardian quoted the Morton County Sheriff's Department describing the incident as an “ongoing riot” and the protesters as “very aggressive." A spokesman for the sheriff's department said that law enforcement was spraying water because protesters were lighting fires on and around the bridge. Truthdig correspondent Donald Kaufman, who was at the scene, calls that portrayal a "lie."

12:19 p.m. PST Thursday: Unicorn Riot has shared video footage of an arrest made in Bismarck, N.D., earlier Thursday:

12:01 p.m. PST Thursday:

Demonstrations have now moved to the city of Mandan, N.D., home to the Morton County jail. Donald Kaufman reports that demonstrators are protesting the arrest and confinement of Red Fawn Fallis, a #NoDAPL activist arrested in late October.

Kaufman explains that Fallis' supporters allege that she was unjustly charged with attempted murder after police arrested her.

"[Y]outh protesters said they were were devastated to find out a week later that local police had arrested Fallis and charged her with attempted murder, saying that she had pulled out a .38 revolver and fired three gunshots at police during another mass arrest incident," The Guardian reports. "To some pipeline protesters, who described Fallis as a passionate activist dedicated to peaceful tactics, her detention is the latest sign that North Dakota police are aggressively targeting a growing movement and will go to great lengths to protect a powerful corporation threatening sacred tribal lands."

Demonstrators in Mandan County today are demanding Red Fawn's release. Kaufman shared live video footage of the unfolding events:

Scroll down to see more photos and videos of the demonstrations.

10:22 a.m. PST Thursday: Peaceful protesters gathered in Bismarck, N.D. early Thursday. Truthdig's Donald Kaufman is following the demonstrations and sending live updates. According to Kaufman, three people have already been arrested "without provocation."

"One tried to give the police officer a flower," Kaufman says.

He also shared live video of the demonstrations on Truthdig's Facebook page:

Scroll down to see more live updates embedded in the Evrybit story at the bottom of this page.

6:17 p.m. PST Wednesday: The Native Americans do not view the #NoDAPL movement as a protest but as an act of survival. It is the continuation of resistance to centuries of repression and oppression. Donald Kaufman wrote a firsthand account of what's happening on the ground at Standing Rock.

2:04 p.m. PST Wednesday: As today's demonstrations come to a close, take some time to learn more about the Standing Rock Sioux tribe's fight. Filmmaker Lucian Read's latest short film, "Mni Wiconi: The Standing at Standing Rock," premiered in October, and gives a glimpse into the struggle and importance of the tribe's fight against the DAPL.

Watch the short film below:

12:02 p.m. PST Wednesday:

Donald Kaufman reports that Wednesday's action at the Bank of North Dakota has ended.

The protests will probably continue in the days ahead, and the #NoDAPL movement continues to receive national attention. For example, on Tuesday, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. made an appearance at one of the camps. Indian Country Today Media Network reports:

“What [Energy Transfer Partners] is doing is a real environmental crime,” said Kennedy, who serves as senior attorney and president of the Waterkeeper Alliance, a non-profit organization solely focused on the right to clean water.

Kennedy’s work protecting the environment spans decades, and his visit to Standing Rock and the Oceti Sakowin camp is a continuation of his efforts to help communities fight corporate polluters.

10:22 a.m. PST Wednesday:

Peaceful protesters, determined to halt construction of the proposed Dakota Access pipeline, rallied outside the Bank of North Dakota in Bismarck on Wednesday morning. The protesters chose the bank because, they allege, it funds treaty violations against the Standing Rock Sioux tribe.

The financial interests behind the pipeline have recently become the focus for many who oppose it—especially because President-elect Donald Trump reportedly has financial ties to the project.

Tuesday night, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders made a surprise appearance outside the White House, where #NoDAPL protesters were gathered. "So we say to President Obama, in any and every way you can, stop the pipeline," Sanders told the crowd. "Tell the Army Corps of Engineers that we know—we don’t need any more studies to know—that in the midst of a great crisis, a global crisis with regard to climate change, every environmental study will tell you: Do not build this pipeline."

Sanders also criticized Trump's pro-fossil fuel position.

Be sure to check out the Evrybit story at the bottom of this post—Truthdig contributor Donald Kaufman is covering Wednesday's demonstrations and providing live updates from North Dakota.

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