I’ve been one part saddened and one part outraged by the video footage coming out of Standing Rock, North Dakota over the last number of weeks as passive, unarmed water protectors are attacked on a daily basis, sometimes by police in riot gear. Police and security forces have not hesitated to use attack dogs, Taser barbs, rubber bullets, pepper spray, tear gas, stun grenades, sound cannons and more. As temperatures dipped to sub-freezing they even increased their use of water hoses, putting thousands of men, women and children at grave risk of hypothermia.
To reduce and possibly eliminate film footage coming out of this peaceful protest, the police imposed a no-fly zone above the demonstrators. This made it very difficult for news media to cover the brutal actions of the police and security. One journalist who decided to document and bear witness is the award-winning broadcast journalist, Amy Goodman from Democracy Now!. Her camera crew videoed a guard dog with blood literally dripping from its nose shortly after it had been used to attack one of the protestors. Ms. Goodman was then arrested and charged with criminal trespass. The prosecutor later increased the charge to incitement to riot. Fortunately, for those of us who believe in freedom of the press, the judge threw out the charge.
On December 4, in a victory of enormous magnitude, the US Army Corps of Engineers announced that the pipeline company would not be permitted to continue with their plan to place the pipeline under the Missouri River near Standing Rock.
Just a few weeks ago, thousands of citizens took to the streets in Vancouver to protest Justin Trudeau’s recent announcement approving the Kinder Morgan pipeline. By all accounts this was not your run-of-the-mill, humdrum protest. Instead, it was filled with energy and absolute determination to stop this dirty pipeline. Many reminisced about the 1990s War of the Woods in British Columbia when thousands were arrested and convicted of civil disobedience in protest against massive clear-cut logging of old growth forests. The protestors were eventually victorious — the government and forest companies involved agreed to negotiate an end to this type of logging.
I am convinced that the Kinder Morgan pipeline will never proceed. Either Justin Trudeau will come to his senses or people power, as was the case in the War of the Woods and in North Dakota, will prevail.