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Land Defenders Face Growing Repression in Fight to Stop Dakota Access Pipeline

HeadlineOct 07, 2016

In North Dakota, land defenders opposing the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline are facing increasing repression. On Thursday, Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier announced he may call on law enforcement agencies from outside North Dakota to come assist North Dakota deputies, saying, “We have basically tapped the resources to a level that we’ve never seen here in North Dakota for one particular incident.” The announcement came as land defenders again shut down construction at multiple construction sites Thursday. In recent weeks, police have begun deploying military-grade equipment, including armored personnel carriers and surveillance helicopters. Meanwhile, the first person to lock himself to active Dakota Access pipeline construction equipment is now facing felony charges, after his misdemeanor case was dismissed and then refiled as a felony case. Dale “Happi” American Horse locked himself to an excavator on August 31, stopping construction for hours. Democracy Now! spoke to him a few days later, on September 3, as we visited the Sacred Stone encampment in North Dakota.

Dale “Happi” American Horse: “I couldn’t stand by and watch this pipeline go through, get torn through the Mother Earth. And it’s a hard thing to stand by and watch. And I couldn’t take it anymore, so we used nonviolent direct action to delay them in any way for as long as possible.”

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