Civil Disobediance in Solidarity with Standing Rock Sioux Ends with No Arrests

16 Feb

About 70 people, mostly young, in front of the Los Angeles District of the Army Corps of Engineers, Tuesday, Feb. 14, during rush hour, protested the granting of the easement to the Dakota Access LLC (Limited Liability Corporation) and the termination of the environmental impact statement.

According to the Facebook page, the protest was organized by Gender Justice Los Angeles, the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance and Mujeres De Maiz (Women of Corn).

One protester was Robert Gamboa, 40, said, “I’m part native American. So, to me, there is very sincere concern about sacred lands being compromised, being stolen back….I just feel like there is greedy people that are coming in trying to push their way through to take the land back … and use it for, you know, other purposes that is not good for the environment, that’s going to be hurting people.”

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Sally Escamilla holding protest sign 0n the sidewalk outside Los Angeles District of Army Corps of Engineers, Feb. 14.  Photo by Barry Saks

Another protester was Sally Escamilla, 64, who said she was from Nebraska.  She said she was concerned about the water, which runs through the river, which the buffalo, the birds and all the wildlife depend on.

A third protester was Courage, who said he had no last name and said he spent two months at Standing Rock.  He said he was part Sioux with roots with indigenous Mexico.  While at Standing Rock, he said he witnessed the police violate the rights of the protesters, as if they were terrorists, threatening them with pepper spray, grenades, water cannons, rubber bullets and attack dogs.

While Courage was beating a drum on the sidewalk, the protesters, while holding their signs, chanted in the street on Wilshire Blvd. at the intersection of Francisco St.

One chant was “Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho, this pipeline’s got to go.”  A second chant was “If we don’t get no (sic) justice, then they don’t get no (sic) peace.”  A third chant was “If indigenous rights are under attack, what do we do?  Stand up, fight back.”  A fourth chant was “Who stands with Standing Rock?  We stand with Standing Rock.”  A fifth chant was “Divest, defund, disrupt.”

One protest sign read, “You can’t drink oil, leave it in the soil.” Another, a child carried, read, “Kids for indigenous power.”   A third on the back of a dog with its owner nearby had two messages: “Dogs against DAPL” (Dakota Access Pipeline) and “Respect indigenous rights.” Another read, “Aqua is Vida (Water is life) and still another read, “We stand with Standing Rock.”

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Protesters at Wilshire Blvd. and Francisco St., Feb. 14.  Photo by Barry Saks

The protesters were divided into three groups.  One group of about 25 stood in the street near the corner of Wilshire and Francisco, blocking oncoming traffic.

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Driver stops auto in front of protesters and honks horn, Feb. 14.  Photo by Barry Saks

While most of the drivers slowed and turned right on Francisco to avoid the protesters, two did not.  One drove up to the protesters and honked the car’s horn continually for several minutes.  Finally, the driver stopped honking and turned right.

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Driver carries protester in front of car on Wilshire Blvd.  Photo by Barry Saks

A second driver drove through the protesters.  The driver, moving slowly, carried the protester with his feet off the ground on the front of the car about a couple hundred feet.  The car stopped and the protester got off the car.

A second group of about 20 stood in the street at the corner of Wilshire and Figueroa St. chanting, carrying signs and also blocking traffic on Wilshire.

A third group of about 25 people stood in front of the building on Wilshire on the north side of the street, which housed the district office, peacefully carrying signs and chanting.

After a little more than an hour, the Los Angeles Police Department warned the protesters if they did not halt their stopping of traffic, they would be arrested without any further warning.  The protesters at both locations stopped and held a brief rally in front of the district office.

The Omaha District of the United States Army Corps of Engineers in its press release of Feb. 8, said, it “granted an easement to Dakota Access, LLC allowing the installation of a thirty-inch diameter light crude oil pipeline under Federal lands … at the Oahe Reservoir.  The granting of this easement follows … the Army decision to terminate the Notice of Intent to Perform an Environmental Impact Statement and notification to Congress of the Army’s intent to grant an easement to Dakota Access for the Lake Oahe crossing.  In operating and maintaining the federally-authorized project at Lake Oahe, the Corps will ensure the portion of the pipeline that crosses Lake Oahe complies with the conditions of the easement.”

According to the press release of Energy Transfer Partners also of Feb. 8, when completed will consist of two parts.  The first part runs about 1,172 miles from North Dakota to Patoka, Illinois.  The second part is more than 700 miles that has been converted to crude oil service from Patoka to Nederland, Texas.  Together the pipeline will be more than 1,872 miles of pipeline and is expected to be in service by second quarter 2017.

In response to the intent of Army Corps of Engineers to grant the easement to Energy Partners and the cancellation of the environmental impact statement, according to a press release, Dave Archambault II, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, said, “The drinking water of millions of Americans is now at risk. We are a sovereign nation and we will fight to protect our water and sacred places from the brazen private interests trying to push this pipeline through to benefit a few wealthy Americans with financial ties to the Trump administration…. The environmental impact statement was wrongfully terminated. This pipeline was unfairly rerouted across our treaty lands.”

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Protesters at Wilshire and Figueroa, Feb. 14.  Photo by Barry Saks

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