Photo: Brian Klonoski / Planet Experts
A “National Day of Action” ignited protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline in more than 300 cities and towns across the U.S. on Tuesday, including a surprise visit from Senator Bernie Sanders outside the White House. The demonstrations took place near local offices of the Army Corps of Engineers, which recently sent a letter to pipeline officials and tribal leaders declaring that construction of the pipeline under the Missouri River won’t move forward without input from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
Police and protesters co-existed without incident for the most part, though there were dozens of arrests, including a group of 39 people who staged a sit-in on a public street in Lower Manhattan. Another group of demonstrators was arrested in North Dakota after they allegedely blocked railroad tracks with debris.
The protest in Los Angeles was peaceful, energetic and well-organized. Demonstrators showed up from all over Southern California — I even talked to a man from India. California’s signature diversity was on display as protesters of all ages and backgrounds hoisted colorful, homemade signs and chanted “Water is life!”
— Planet Experts (@PlanetExperts) November 16, 2016
I asked a handful of protesters why they’re standing with Standing Rock. Based on their responses, it’s clear that #NoDAPL demonstrations are uniting people around a number of issues related to the Dakota Access pipeline, like climate change, government overreach, access to clean water and indigenous rights.
Here’s what people had to say:
“We came out today to join our voices and stop government greed, to protect our planet and to teach my daughter about peaceful protest.” – Erica and her daughter Lola, from Los Angeles
“Because water is life.” – Patricia, from Los Angeles
“I’m here for the overall concern that I have for our planet. And today I’m here in support of Standing Rock and the Sioux Tribe Reservation and to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. To me, it’s one pipeline, but it’s not just one pipeline, because it’s a symbol of all the greed that’s happening. And it’s all coming together and it’s beautiful to see so many people waking up and coming together. I’m just happy to be a part of it and it’s not gonna stop, because enough is enough. And I think what just happened with the Sioux Tribe and their coming forth and coming out, they kind of drew the line in the sand and they said ‘enough is enough’ and that’s resonating with so many people around the world — it’s a worldwide movement. So it’s all tied into climate change. It’s all tied into saving our planet, basically, and protecting water, respecting our water, respecting our land and respecting the inhabitants of our planet.” – Raven Gray, from Southern California
“I’m here to support Standing Rock. The question I keep asking is: If they must put a pipeline through the ground, why can’t they put it around our reservation instead of through the water people drink, through burial grounds? Broken treaties… everything is wrong right now, so I’m here in support to stand up for what is right.” – Heather, from Pasadena, CA
“My message is to please save the water for our future and our future family members.” – Rangeed, from India
“I am here because I believe our Earth needs to be protected now more than ever. And we have sacred lands on Banning Ranch that need to be protected. I have been a very strong supporter of #NoDAPL from the beginning. As a Native American as well as a person of the Earth, I feel that we need to stand up for what we believe in.” – Olga, from Costa Mesa, CA