Protesters who oppose the Dakota Access Pipeline, a $3.8 billion oil pipeline that will span four states, were met with violence on Saturday when they were pepper sprayed and bitten by security dogs.
Members of various Native American tribes have come together to protest the pipeline, which they fear will disturb sacred burial and cultural sites and affect the drinking water on the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s reservation. Tribal officials say that construction crews have already caused serious damage.
On Saturday, CBS reports, protesters confronted the construction crews. According to Donnell Preskey, Morton County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman, four private security guards and two guard dogs were injured.
Preskey’s statement also said that protesters “broke down a wire fence by stepping and jumping on it” and then “stampeded into the construction area with horses, dogs, and vehicles.”
Six protesters were bitten by security dogs, including a young child, according to tribe spokesman Steve Sitting Bear. The spokesman also said that at least 30 people were pepper sprayed.
According to New Jersey Today, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe filed an emergency motion on Sunday for a temporary restraining order meant to prevent further construction. Tribal Chairman David Archambault II said about the restraining order:
‘On Saturday, Dakota Access Pipeline and Energy Transfer Partners brazenly used bulldozers to destroy our burial sites, prayer sites and culturally significant artifacts. They did this on a holiday weekend, one day after we filed court papers identifying these sacred sites. The desecration of these ancient places has already caused the Standing Rock Sioux irreparable harm. We’re asking the court to halt this path of destruction.’
Despite the motion and the violence that occurred on Saturday, Archambault said that Dakota Access Pipeline returned in the early morning and dug up additional grounds.
Archambault called the demolition “devastating.” He continued, “These grounds are the resting places of our ancestors. The ancients cairns and stone prayer rings cannot be replaced. In one day, our sacred land has been turned into hollow ground.”
The attorney for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, Jan Hasselman, said about the construction,
‘Destroying the Tribe’s sacred places over a holiday weekend, while the judge is considering whether to block the pipeline, shows a flagrant disregard for the legal process. The Tribe has been seeking to vindicate its rights peacefully through the courts. But Dakota Access Pipeline used evidence submitted to the Court as their roadmap for what to bulldoze. That’s just wrong.’
The video below, courtesy of Democracy Now via YouTube, shows footage from Saturday’s events:
Featured image via Getty Images