I'm 66 years old and have been protesting since at least 1966, and I can't remember the police EVER attacking protesters
AFTER the demonstration is over - at least not in mass as a coordinated effort.
And that's what the police did today. They - all white
& male except 4 maybe 8 females - were dying to hurt us, especially 1st
We had come early to a man-camp outside Mandan North
Dakota. First Nation womyn led us in prayer and shared heart-breaking testimonies of surviving, over centuries into today, violence and abuse at the hands of (the white understood) oil men.
We marched with heavy hearts over to the entrance of the man camp where more womyn and some men spoke over loud speakers: to us water protectors, to the police, the military, the (white and male understood) workers of this camp where violence against two native elders had occurred the previous night. Violence perpetrated, reported to the police, who came to stand in laughing camaraderie with the criminals, mocking the terror and pain of the victims.
One womon spoke to the heavily armed police of the rubber bullets they fire wantonly at us today as being a mere continuation of the rubber bullets her people have suffered through over the centuries: the rubber bullets of alcoholism, of poverty, of drugs, of domestic violence, of murder, of rape, of the plethora of injustices and destruction.
Another womon urged the increasingly growing line of looming police to lay down their weapons and join us, then extending the invitation over their dark weaponized heads to the black snake workers milling about in the background.
After standing, chanting, listening for maybe a half hour, 45 minutes parallel to the menacing police, their weapons and boy toys with only the railroad tracks separating us, the organizers called the demonstration a success and asked for the womyn to filter out of the crowd and form a prayer circle before we end our action.
We left the men at the tracks, held hands as we circled up to be saged or cedared once again, hear the final prayer as an elder beat a drum and danced in the middle of our circle, then turning to tearfully hug each other before beginning the silent, short walk back to our cars.
Suddenly we hear over the loud speaker the urgent message to turn around, to not turn our backs on the police, to go quickly and not panic.
For that was when they charged, some thrusting
the blunt end of billy clubs at the bellies of individuals while others shoving
the unarmored chests and breasts of front line of water protectors with the
long part of the club and still others spraying mace or tear gas or pepper
I watch in horror, stumbling backwards, projecting my most authoritative voice as I admonish them for their violence and order them to STOP attacking us. As we disperse as rapidly as possible, I see them literally group up and run in some kind of fuckin formation to try to catch us before we got to the
'safety' of the cars we were randomly diving into.
Once ensconced in any vehicle we could find, we hurriedly drove off together but a couple miles down the two
lane desolate ND country road, our caravan at least 50 cars was stopped by a police barricade of blue
flashing lights & a phalanx of officers wielding billy clubs diagonally
across their heavily weaponed bodies, feet splayed aggressively, face masks
There r no side roads in ND 4 miles & the tank at our demonstration site that
has been protecting the private corporation destroying our Mother Earth,
threatening our water and abusing Native womyn, has pulled up behind our last
car, blocking any retreat or rerouting.
Our caravan pulls over & leaders attempt to
Soon the hoards of bully police & military that were
at the pipeline construction site pass us in maybe 15 white suv vehicles &
spill out onto the front of our line to advance down either side of our cars
like thick smoldering molten lava behind a solitary soldier w/a camera he is
pointing into vehicles.
They stop occasionally & pull someone out of a car
& arrest them, targeting who they most likely think r the 1st Nation
leaders w/fuckin face recognition abilities.