In this powerful clip, veterans at the Standing Rock Sioux protests in North Dakota bravely walked out to deliver a message of peace to the besieging police officers and security forces defending the interests of the fossil fuel corporations behind the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Hands held high above their heads, veterans organizer Wesley Clark Jr., Indigenous Environmental Network representative Kandi Mossett, and former Marine Brenda White Bull approached the police officers to parlay with them. They informed the police that they have over 2500 veterans on site and have no intention of obeying the government’s order to evacuate today.
It’s disappointing to see that the veterans’ presence is doing what months and months of protest could not. The police announced they will now be “avoiding” confrontations with the protesters and will not be forcing any kind of dispersal from the protest site. A week ago they were hosing down protesters in subzero temperatures and firing rubber bullets into the crowds, and now all of a sudden they have a change of heart? Obviously, the corporate masters at Energy Access don’t want the negative publicity that would come from their security forces attacking veterans, but it’s sad to see that as soon as some respected white men show up the police are singing a very different tune.
“That’s never been our intent, never will be our intent nor is that going to happen. A whole lot of people are coming here expecting to see some kind of a confrontation December 5th and they’re going to be pretty bored, cuz it’s not happening” says Sheriff Paul Laney in a press statement.
The police also warn the protesters about infiltrators paid by the oil company to provoke confrontations with the police. “They’re going to keep making millions and we’re fighting their battles for them. I don’t want to see our veterans fight another battle for someone else again” says the cop.
A noble sentiment, to be sure, but it would be nice if they showed that much respect to the Native protesters who have been here for months.
Watch it here, courtesy of Indigenous Rising Media:
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.