CANNON BALL, NORTH DAKOTA– Five unarmed Native American anti-Bakken Dakota Access Pipeline protestors praying on the side of the road were given five minutes to stop praying and leave or face arrest by over 40 police officers from at least eight departments in three states. Officers had an armored vehicle, acoustic weapon, riot gear, automatic weapons, and batons.
Water Protectors, a group of Native Americans and their allies lead by the Standing Rock Sioux working to defeat the Bakken Dakota Access Pipeline, sat down on the shoulder of a public road to pray after the voluntary end of a larger protest.
The prayer lasted approximately 10 minutes. As they prayed the police continued to garner more forces. Police forces started at about 30 officers with no armored vehicles and swelled up to 40 officers with an armored vehicle.
Video taken at the scene shows the continued influx of officers.
A single officer approached the group and told the men they had five minutes to stop praying and leave or face arrest because their prayers were considered an unlawful protest.
The men praying eventually left and police made no arrests.
“The law was broken by 40 officers,” said praying Water Protector Makoons, “including freedom of religion, and speech”
“Prayer does not have no time limit; only showers in prison do,” said Black Crow, another praying Water Protectors.
Two locations had separate actions by Water Protectors.
North Dakota police departments present were; North Dakota Fish and Game, Grand Forks Police Department, Stark County, North Dakota State Parks, Williams County, and Minot Police Department. Dane County, WI, and Quinn County, SD were also present. More departments may have been present.
Water Protectors are working to stop the completion of the Bakken Dakota Access Pipeline which goes under the Missouri and Mississippi River and over the Ogallala Aquifer. Water Protectors have taken up camp just inside and outside of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation near Cannon Ball, ND. The Missouri is the reservations primary source of drinking water.
Over 100 Water Protectors, journalists, and legal observers have been arrested in recent weeks on charges ranging from inciting a riot to trespass. Journalist Amy Goodman from NPR has been charged with inciting a riot for her coverage private security dogs attacking water protectors. Emmy winning documentary film producer Deia Schlosberg was arrested on 3 felony charges and is facing 45 years in prison.