Standing Rock is part of an ongoing struggle against the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) as indigenous people, defend their water, their communities and their lives. They have faced paramilitary police and armoured vehicles. They have been attacked by clubs, tear gas, mace, pepper spray, bean-bag baton rounds, and flash-bang percussion grenades and water-cannon. Previously private security guards had set attack-dogs upon protesters. Military-clad police have been training and aiming their assault rifles upon peaceful demonstrators. Hundreds have now been arrested.
Peter Kraska, professor and author of ‘Militarizing the American Criminal Justice System: The Changing Roles of the Armed Forces and Police’ explains:
“We have romantic notions of the relationships between government and the private sector and tend to think the old days of police supporting owners of capital—the railroad companies instead of the workers—are from a bygone era. Situations like these show that corporations and energy interests are exercising a monopoly on violence to continue the fossil fuel industry unabated.”
Steven Salaita, professor and author of the forthcoming book ‘Inter/Nationalism: Decolonizing Native America and Palestine’ put it this way: “The current buildup of tremendous force at Standing Rock should be understood as a military invasion of a sovereign nation on behalf of a foreign oil company."
The state of North Dakota is applying the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) to request extra police assistance from neighboring states, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wyoming, Indiana and Nebraska. The EMAC program is supposed to be used for disaster relief efforts in other states. Lt. Bob Kroll, the head of the Minneapolis Police Officer’s Federation refers to protesters as "terrorists."