A statement from the Oceti Sakowin encampments at Standing Rock said they would “put bodies on the line” to prevent any eviction
teleSUR English | Nov 27, 2016
Another showdown appears to be looming between water defenders and U.S. state security forces at the site of protests against the Dakota Access pipeline after demonstrators from the Oceti Sakowin encampments said Sunday they would not abide by an eviction order issued by the Barack Obama administration.
“We are a coalition of grassroots groups living and working at the encampments, and we will not be moved. We stand united in defiance of the black snake and are committed to defense of water, our Mother Earth, and our rights as Indigenous people,” read the statement from the Oceti Sakowin encampments.
The statement also issued a call for supporters to join them as they put their “bodies on the line” to prevent the eviction.
The Army Corps of Engineers said in a letter issued Friday that all lands north of the Cannonball River, which is where the main Oceti Sakowin camp is located, would be closed by Dec. 5.
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe responded by rejecting the Obama’s decision to close access. Sunday’s statement went one step further saying that “the Army Corps has no authority to evict us from these lands.”
“The Oceti Sakowin encampment is located on the ancestral homeland of the Lakota, Mandan, Arikara, and Northern Cheyenne — on territory never ceded to the U.S. government,” added the statement.
The letter from the Army Corps of Engineers also said that anyone remaining in the area designated as off-limits will be treated as a trespasser and may be subject to arrest and prosecution.
Sunday’s statement flatly rejected that assertion. “Our water protectors are not trespassers and can never be trespassers … We are not moving, and we will not be silenced.”
“The Army Corps’s eviction notice is an aggressive threat to Indigenous peoples. It further empowers and emboldens a militarized police force that has already injured hundreds of unarmed, peaceful water protectors, and continues to escalate its tactics of brutality against us. It adds fuel to the fire of an ongoing human rights crisis,” concluded the statement.
U.S. security officials have previously been accused of committing human rights violations against demonstrators. Protests have turned violent as authorities have deployed hundreds of heavily-armed police officers from several regional police agencies to disperse the protesters with pepper spray, rubber bullets and concussion grenades, with hundreds of injuries reported.
A police crackdown earlier this month saw protesters face repeated barrages of less-lethal munitions and water cannons for several hours in sub-freezing temperatures in an incident that was denounced by the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.