Cell Service Blacked Out As Violence Against Dakota Pipeline Protesters Increases*
By Ariana Marisol
As violence against protestors at the construction site of the North Dakota Access Pipeline escalates, social media outlets like Facebook show millions what is actually going on.
Arrests at the recently erected frontline camp in the path of the Dakota Access Pipeline have begun and they are anything but non-violent. Police and military have moved in on Indigenous water protectors and their allies.
Law enforcement seem to have been interfering with cell signal, making it difficult for protestors to keep Facebook and other social media outlets updated on what is happening. Yet the social media users who were able to post videos and livefeeds have been able to spread awareness about the ongoing fight against the build of the Dakota Pipeline, a pipeline that could endanger the clean drinking water supply for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
According to eyewitnesses, buses filled with law enforcement have been traveling toward the frontline. The indigenous water protectors and their allies are prepared to stand their ground even though crackdowns by law enforcement are getting more and more violent while the protesters have continued to use nonviolent tactics in their civil disobedience.
The Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners warned that demonstrators occupying land in the pipeline’s path must leave or face prosecution. This new frontline camp sits slightly north of the main protest camp on federal land near Cannon Ball.
Amidst potential arrests, violence, and legal charges, members of tribes from across the United States are standing with Standing Rock, ready to give their lives to the cause. While the protest is a fight to save tribal lands and fresh drinking water, it is also a fight to preserve indigenous rights, wants, and needs.
Meanwhile, Morton County sheriff’s office has been leading police response to the demonstration and it has also been conducting mass arrests like the one that just took place over the weekend. The sherif department announced that the use of dogs by private security guards against protesters last month may have been illegal.
The scare tactics used by law enforcement to get protesters out of the pipeline’s way are not working the way police forces had envisioned. Although protesters have been violently hurt by police use of force and violence, they are prepared.
Tribal leaders, led by Standing Rock Sioux tribe Chairman Dave Archambault II called on the Department of Justice to look into the use of an unnecessary amount of force by state and local law enforcement. He believes that the state has militarized the reservation.
With the rising amount of support through social media platforms, word about what is going on in North Dakota is beginning to get out to the public. Yet, with cellular service blacked out in the area, supporters are having trouble sharing what is going on. Violence against protesters was recorded on live-streams that were shared by thousands of people, highlighting what law enforcement is doing to protesters. Photos show bloody activists bit by dogs, shot with rubber bullets, and more. There have been canon attacks by police and military tanks have been brought out to disperse road blocks.
Although mainstream media is choosing to black out what is happening, social media is telling a story of people coming together to fight for water, land, and indigenous rights. What is happening at Standing Rock is history in the making.