Dakota Access Pipeline: How Peaceful is the Protest?
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Politics and Activism

Dakota Access Pipeline: How Peaceful is the Protest?

The concerns about the pipeline are real, but protest isn't as peaceful as you think.

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Dakota Access Pipeline: How Peaceful is the Protest?
WQAD

As I am currently living in North Dakota, this seems to be a topic on the news every night or in the newspaper every day. Although on the other side of the state, the results and actions from this pipeline are directly affecting me and many others in Fargo. The portrayals of this protest on the national scale have been slightly skewed in the protesters' favor. The news I see on a daily basis fails to show the effects of the protesting on the North Dakota residents and the other side of the protest.

First off let's address the biggest issue at hand; the violence. There's been a lot of pictures posted of savage attack dogs and pepper sprayed protesters. The description they fail to accurately provide with the picture is that the protester tried to run when facing a trespassing arrest or the protester was peppered sprayed when they tried to attack construction equipment or a security team member. Do you really think the security team wants to purposely cause violence? The pipeline contractors and the state want as little media attention brought to this protest and causing purposeful violence just isn't logical or beneficial to them.

Next is the property damage. Millions of dollars worth of equipment was set on fire in Iowa at a pipeline construction zone. Although not in North Dakota and not done by the Standing Rock Sioux, the Sioux's protest has shown that this is acceptable behavior whether it involves sacred land or not. There is no threat to water or tradition at the Iowa site, so why the violence? The property damage also extends to farmers and ranchers in the area that have had livestock go missing. One rancher reported 30 head of cattle missing and have had four turn up dead near the protesters' camps. Horses, mules and bison have also been found dead nearby.

Lastly, are the arrests for trespassing. Many of these arrests have been publicized because of the celebrities being arrested. What many people don't know is how severe the trespassing has become and the effects this has had on the fall harvest. Farmers have been held up for hours with their combines and harvested crops because trespassers refuse to let them by. They've also had issues leaving equipment in the fields because of vandalism. One farmer has reported having protesters walking across his field while harvesting and when they were asked to leave the protesters claimed it was their land and that he should leave. Many farmers in the area have also started carrying sidearms for fear of their safety. If this protest is so peaceful, why are people who aren't even involved in the protest itself worried about their safety?

The concerns about the pipeline are real. The destruction of sacred land is not right. The possible water contamination is cause for questions. However, the media portrayal of this being about discrimination is not what it's meant to be and the Standing Rock Sioux have taken full advantage of it. The protest has become less about the legitimate concerns from the project and more about the state not respecting it's native people.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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