The protesters working to block the Dakota Access Pipeline have put North Dakota law enforcement between a rock and a hard place.
Currently the protesters are put a blockade across Highway 1806 (and some smaller roads nearby), and hundreds of them are camped on the privately-owned Cannonball Ranch in the path of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Those are blatantly illegal actions. Whether it’s pipeline protesters blocking a highway, or pro-life protesters blocking entrance to an abortion clinic, law enforcement has a duty to step in and enforce the law.
Today North Dakota law enforcement officials met with protest organizers blocking the highway, etc., to try and find a way to peacefully move the people away from these areas. Here’s video of Cass County Sheriff Paul Laney explaining the conversation.
“We have the resources, we have the manpower, to go down and end this right now,” Laney told the press. “What we did again today is go down and reach out out the camps and say there is a very common sense way to deal with this. We can deal with this in the courts.”
“You just have to leave the private property,” he continued.
The response from the protesters? “Do what you’ve got to do.”
Mekasi Camp-Horinek, one of the camp coordinators, told officers the protesters planned to stand their ground, saying “Do what you’ve got to do.” …
Earlier Wednesday, Camp-Horinek said in an interview the group would continue protesting with prayer and song and children had been relocated from the frontline camp back to the Oceti Sakowin camp.
“This is a last stand right here,” he said “We’re not going to move.”
So at this point the protesters are essentially inviting conflict. Because, again, law enforcement has a responsibility to enforce the law. That means clearing the public highway. That means removing people from private property where they aren’t welcome.
Yet when the conflict inevitably happens, who do you think the protesters will blame?
It will be the cops. The same cops who gave them a path to resolve this peacefully.
In rejecting that path, the protesters tell us they don’t want peace. They want conflict and violence as fodder their propaganda machines.