Protectors shake hands with officers
Published September 28, 2016
CANNON BALL, NORTH DAKOTA – September 28 – Police confronted anti-Dakota Access Pipeline protestors with an armored vehicle, automatic weapons, and riot gear on Tuesday. Protesters created a receiving line and greeted each police officer with a handshake.
Approximately 300 protesters including children, the elderly, and about a dozen horse riders, gathered on a county road and adjoining ditch near a construction site for the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) in the rural hills of North Dakota.
Protesters sang songs, listened to elders’ stories, and took pictures of the pipeline.
Police responded to the protest with an armored vehicle, automatic weapons, riot gear, a bus full of officers, surveillance aircraft including two helicopters and an airplane.
The crowd saw the police moving in from some distance. Leaders called for the children, elders, and other people in need of protection to move into the middle of the crowd, protected by younger people on the outside. When the police arrived, younger people also moved to the police side of the crowd.
The leaders called for calm and reminded the protesters to let the police liaisons talk to the police.
The group was instructed to split by the leaders, to make room for passing traffic. Protesters on horseback split the crowd onto the side of the street, traffic to pass. The police did not proceed through the now split crowd, they stopped and created an obstruction, blocking the road.
The police stopped near the protesters and the crowd approached cautiously.
After some anti-DAPL shouting, the protesters formed a receiving line, lining up in front of the police, moving down the line shaking the police officers’ hands. Protesters explained that they were there for the children of the police who live in the area, as well as their own children. Most protesters made direct eye contact and smiled at police as they moved through the line.
One protester offered the police flowers.
Most officers took part in the receiving line, shaking the protestors’ hands. Some police simply waved as to say a friendly, no thanks. A few police simply ignored the offer all together, standing with their arms down, hands crossed across their abdomen. Most looked confused, as if they were anticipating it to turn malicious.
Police later reported they were charged by horses and did not report the handshakes.
No arrests were made at the protest.
Law enforcement officers from Morton County Sheriff, North Dakota Highway Patrol, Burleigh County Sheriff’s Department, and Bismark Police Department were present at the protest.
A surveillance drone was also present but the owner is unknown.
Most protestors were from the Sacred Stone Camp and Red Warrior Camp in and around the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.