MONTROSE, Iowa — On Saturday, October 1, more than two hundred water protectors marched from the banks of the Mississippi River through a timbered woodland lot to a Dakota Access river boring site and tore down a security fence before being repelled by the Iowa State Patrol and the Lee County Sheriff's Department.
Thirty-two people were arrested and charged with trespassing, officials confirmed.
The protest was organized by the grassroots collective Mississippi Stand and their solidarity network across Eastern Iowa. Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, Bold Iowa, and 100 Grannies United for a Livable Future also co-sponsored the action and mobilized some of their members.
Mississippi Stand is an intentional community of everyday people occupying a camp across from the Mississippi River construction site, where Dakota Access is working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to bore underneath the Mississippi River.
"Half the group scaled the fence and the other half tore it down," said Jessica Reznicek, a founding member of the Mississippi Stand Resistance Camp.
The mass action is the latest attempt by demonstrators to stop construction of the Dakota Access Bakken oil pipeline in Iowa. Most of the pipeline construction across the state is already completed, but drilling continues at the Des Moines River in Central Iowa and on the Mississippi River in Southeast Iowa.
A delegation of indigenous people from the Sacred Stone Camp at Standing Rock also joined the demonstration, as did members of the University of Iowa Native American Student Association.
"It was a good effort, but we needed to swarm in after the fence was breached, and that didn’t happen," said Miriam Kashia, a member of the 100 Grannies from North Liberty, Iowa.
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Iowa-based #NoDAPL organizers say they will continue to mobilize hundreds of people to participate in civil disobedience actions at river construction sites across the state and vow that oil will never flow through the Dakota Access Bakken pipeline even if the Iowa portion of the route is finished.
More than 155 water guardians have been arrested in Iowa at construction sites in Boone and Lee counties since August 31.