In North Dakota, more than 100 Native Americans and allies fighting the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline have been injured by police, who attacked them with rubber bullets, tear gas, mace canisters and water cannons in freezing temperatures Sunday night. The attack was on a bridge near the main Oceti Sakowin resistance camp. It began after the water protectors attempted to clear access to the public bridge, which has been blocked by authorities using military equipment chained to concrete barriers. Medics on scene say multiple people were shot by rubber bullets.
Leland Brenholt: “My name is Leland Brenholt. I’m a medic here at Oceti Sakowin. And we have seen at least four gunshot wounds, three of them I know of to the face and head. Rubber bullets. Right now we’re trying to keep people warm. We’re trying to get them decontaminated, and treating all kinds of different wounds. People have been hit with canisters in the chest or the leg and that sort of thing.”
Water protectors say the police also fired rubber bullets at journalists, shot down drones being used to document the attack and fired flares which ignited grass fires. Legal observers with the National Lawyers Guild said multiple people temporarily lost consciousness after being shot. Witnesses say one elder also went into cardiac arrest and was revived on scene by medics. Both the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe sent medical first responders. This is Angela Bibens, a lawyer with the Red Owl Legal Collective, speaking in a telephone interview recorded by Dallas Goldtooth Sunday.
Angela Bibens: “Right now we’ve seen people who have been maced. They deployed 20 mace canisters in a small area in less than five minutes, to the point where people have lost bowel function. At least one seizure has been witnessed at the front lines by our legal observation team. There have been people vomiting from the exposure to the mace. The water cannon has been mixed with the mace, and so even our legal observers have been exposed and are trying to deal with that while they’re doing up their notes. And canisters were shot at the medic area at the front line. There is at least one woman who has a broken kneecap. At least one elder went into cardiac arrest and was revived through CPR at the front line by medics.”