‘We’ve been waiting for this moment’: ‘We’ll see the water’
Water pipes in North Dakota were flooded during the Dakota Access pipeline protest last year.
Now, as more than 30 people are facing the possibility of jail time and hundreds of others facing fines, they are urging protesters to turn to the water.
“I am tired of watching our loved ones and neighbors suffer in the cold, dark, and wet winter,” wrote Tobi McBride, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
“We’ve lived through years of water pollution, and we’ve waited for this, and it’s not going to happen.”
McBride and other members of the protest have been documenting the impact of the pipeline’s construction on their tribe’s water supply and the people who rely on it, including farmers, ranchers, and others who depend on it.
The pipeline was built by Energy Transfer Partners, a subsidiary of TransCanada, a Canadian energy company.
In addition to the arrests and the fines, many people who have been charged have been told that their rights will be taken away if they don’t cooperate.
“We have the right to be here and stand,” said Denny Brown, a lawyer for one of the protesters.
“If you don’t want to be, we have a right to go.”
Brown says that he and his clients are hoping that they can make their voices heard.
“The way that the people are being treated is just appalling,” he said.
“I think people are tired of the police being used to break people’s rights and silence their voice.”
Brown said he thinks the pipeline is about more than the pipeline itself.
He says the protests are not only an expression of the tribe’s concerns about the pipeline, but about the fact that “the government has no interest in protecting us.”
The Morton County Sheriff’s Department is the state agency that serves the Standing Stone Reservation, a portion of North Dakota’s Great Plains.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s office has said that the protest encampment is an illegal occupation, but that it is a peaceful one.
The Morton Sheriff’s Office has also said that protesters have been given permission to disperse, but has not provided a timeframe for when they can go home.
The Morton County District Attorney’s office is prosecuting the case against protesters.
The protesters have said that they are concerned that the arrests could impact the tribe.
“There are people in jail right now,” said Brown.
“They have no hope of ever being released.”