Over the weekend protesters aiming to obstruct the Dakota Access Pipeline staged a violent riot, breaking down a fence and attacking a group of security personnel who used mace and guard dogs to defend themselves.
In the wake of the riot, the tribe sought to explain the violence suggesting it was justified because the pipeline company (according to the protesters, anyway) was destroying historic artifacts:
Since the beginning, Archambault said his message has been about non-violence and promoting peace.
“And it continues to be my message, but somebody has to put the Dakota Access Pipeline in check as well. They’re the ones who provoke violence, they’re the ones who are trying to make this more about violence, and tribal leaders around the country are coming here expecting the same thing — being a peaceful, prayerful demonstration, but, when the company does things to provoke it, and the security company provokes it, they’re trying to say that we’re doing it. But we’ve maintained that message (of non-violence) all along.”
In other words, Archambault’s message is peace, unless the pipeline does something the protesters don’t like.
It’s always a bit chilling when people begin to rationalize violence as a means to their ends.
What’s worse, it seems to be working. According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers this morning they won’t be contesting the tribe’s latest request to halt pipeline construction, and they explicitly cited the violent protests as the reason (emphasis mine):
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will not oppose the temporary restraining order, acknowledging in court papers filed Monday that the area has been the site of recent confrontations and the “public interest would be served by preserving peace” until the court rules on the injunction.
The ruling on the injunction is coming soon, but this is absolutely the wrong message to be sending to the groups protesting this pipeline who have already resulted to violence, physical obstruction, and vandalism to get their way.