North Dakota pipeline: Veterans get ready to join protest

Near Cannon Ball, North Dakota (CNN)The frigid North Dakota cold hasn’t stopped thousands of protesters from camping outside, trying to halt construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

And they’re about to get a boost from hundreds of veterans.


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Gov. Jack Dalrymple had ordered the protesters to leave immediately, citing the harsh wintry conditions. But those freezing at the campsite lambasted the governor’s claim that he’s trying to protect safety. ll
“If you want to make this safer, then stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. Stop the whole thing completely,” said Wicahpi Ksapa, a tribal headsman for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. “You want to poison our people?”
The tribe started the anti-pipeline campaign months ago to protect sacred sites and their water supply. But the protests have ballooned to include celebrities, a former presidential candidate and now the group of veterans offering to come help.



    Pipeline protester: ‘It will be a battle’


‘Stand up for the oppressed’

On Wednesday, leaders of “Veterans Stand for Standing Rock” said they’re ready to go to North Dakota — even though it was 29 degrees Fahrenheit there Wednesday afternoon.
“See you all on the ground in Standing Rock,” veteran Wesley Clark Jr. tweeted Wednesday. “We are coming with Truth, Justice & the American Way as it was always meant to be. Peace. #NoDAPL”
Clark — not to be confused with retired Gen. Wesley Clark — created “Veterans Stand for Standing Rock” along with Michael Wood Jr., a retired Baltimore police officer and Marine Corps veteran.
“If we don’t stand up for the oppressed, that’s the snowball that starts that leads to everyone else’s oppression,” Wood said. “It doesn’t matter if you are a libertarian, a conservative, or a progressive, this is everyone’s fight.”
The group’s Facebook page told attendees to “Bring body armor, gas masks, earplugs AND shooting mufflers (we may be facing a sound cannon) but no drugs, alcohol or weapons.”



    Police clash with Dakota pipeline protesters



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The Morton County Sheriff’s Office said protesters set fires while officers tried to disperse the crowds with tear gas, rubber bullets and water sprayed from hoses attached to fire engines.
Archambault said the accusations against the protesters are false, and that it’s police who are being violent.
“They’re the ones who are using weapons,” he said.
Despite the ongoing conflict, Chase Iron Eyes said he has no immediate plans to leave.
“We are in for the long haul,” he said.

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