Social media captures chaos at Standing Rock as police, anti-pipeline demonstrators face off
Images of tear gas smoke, water cannons, injuries at Standing Rock spark outrage online
Posts on social media capture the chaos on a bridge near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation where hundreds of people opposed to a contentious pipeline project faced off with heavily armed authorities Sunday night.
Multiple live, streaming videos and photographs posted to social media show North Dakota authorities shooting tear gas canisters into the crowd and steadily spraying a water cannon. Some on the ground say several people were hit and injured by rubber bullets or were suffering hypothermia.
The temperature dropped to as low as -3 C.
The incident began on Sunday afternoon when people from the Oceti Sakowin camp — where thousands of people opposed to the $3.78-billion Dakota Access pipeline have been gathering for months — tried to remove two burned-out trucks from the Backwater Bridge on route 1806, located just north of the reservation.
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That route, which runs north from the reservation towards the state capital, has been closed since a previous clash with authorities in October.
Morton County sheriff's department is using a f**king water cannon on our water protectors! Its 25 degrees Fahrenheit outside right now. <a href="https://t.co/5S5JaIrRgK">pic.twitter.com/5S5JaIrRgK</a>—@dallasgoldtooth
As the night wore on, the situation on and around the bridge intensified, with people from the camp utilizing makeshift shields to protect themselves from the water cannons and rubber bullets. Videos from the scene show the air thick with tear gas, smoke and steam from freezing water while people yell, sing and drum.
VIDEO: Shots fired + tear gassed unprovoked into crowd of <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WaterProtectors?src=hash">#WaterProtectors</a> in Ceremony <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NoDAPL?src=hash">#NoDAPL</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/StandingRock?src=hash">#StandingRock</a> <a href="https://t.co/PKg7gsNa0R">pic.twitter.com/PKg7gsNa0R</a>—@IAreDick
A group called the Standing Rock Medic & Healer Council, which was set up to provide medical aid to people in the camps, reported dozens of injuries and used its Facebook page to issue an appeal for for medical supplies and warm blankets.
Others posted photos of their own injuries, including one demonstrator named Aidoneus Bishop.
"Just got shot in the hand and back with rubber bullets," Bishop wrote on Facebook.
Using water cannons in subfreezing temperatures is inhumane. Justice requires non-violence by all. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NoDAPL?src=hash">#NoDAPL</a>—@algore
Actor Susan Sarandon was among several celebrities who also used their social media profiles to speak out about the confrontation on Sunday, urging her followers to contact the White House to complain.
The lines are busy at the White House but keep trying. Tell <a href="https://twitter.com/POTUS">@POTUS</a> that this can't happen in our name. (202) 456-1111 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NoDAPL?src=hash">#NoDAPL</a> <a href="https://t.co/35ereQ0rZP">https://t.co/35ereQ0rZP</a>—@SusanSarandon
While Amnesty International launched a campaign calling on authorities in North Dakota to scale back its response to demonstrations, including asking police not to wear riot gear.
It's time to call on North Dakota police to respect the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/humanrights?src=hash">#humanrights</a> of those opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline. <a href="https://t.co/uNCwghJkJP">https://t.co/uNCwghJkJP</a> <a href="https://t.co/XI3z7R1RDP">pic.twitter.com/XI3z7R1RDP</a>—@amnesty