Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Dear Common Dreams Readers:
Corporations and billionaires have their own media. Shouldn't we? When you “follow the money” that funds our independent journalism, it all leads back to this: people like you. Our supporters are what allows us to produce journalism in the public interest that is beholden only to people, our planet, and the common good. Please support our Mid-Year Campaign so that we always have a newsroom for the people that is funded by the people. Thank you for your support. --Jon Queally, managing editor

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

Water protectors hug next to barbed wire and a militarized police vehicle, after the activists were doused with water cannons.

Water protectors hug next to barbed wire and a militarized police vehicle after the activists were doused with water cannons. (Photo: Erin Schrode/Twitter)

Call for DOJ Observers in North Dakota as DAPL Activists Face Severe Injuries, Arrests

"Woman hit by concussion grenade may lose her arm. Way past time for federal observers at Standing Rock."—Bill McKibben

Nika Knight Beauchamp

Water protectors battling the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline are grappling with terrible injuries and even more arrests in the wake of Sunday's police onslaught, in which law enforcement bombarded the peaceful activists with concussion grenades, rubber bullets, mace, and water cannons in sub-zero temperatures.

One woman is even facing the potential amputation of an arm, after it was allegedly torn apart by a concussion grenade. Supporters shared shocking images of her extensive injuries and a link to a fundraiser for her hospital costs:

The attack from the Morton County Sheriff's Department and its aftermath has prompted supporters and politicians to call on the U.S. Department of Justice to send observers to the scene, to defend the activists' First Amendment right to safely protest:

Amnesty International echoed such calls in a letter sent Monday to the Morton County Sheriff's Department. "[T]he use of those water cannons against the protesters themselves risks potential injury and hypothermia for the protesters who were sprayed with water in below freezing temperatures," wrote Amnesty International USA executive director Margaret Huang
, according to Indian Country Today. "Also alarming are videos of the use of tear gas, and reports of rubber bullets used to disperse the crowd of protesters."

The violence Sunday came in response to Indigenous activists' efforts to clear the public road that leads to their protest camp near Cannon Ball, North Dakota. And the standoff lasted for six hours, despite medics' pleas that the police stop endangering activists' lives. As the Intercept reported:

Linda Black Elk, a member of the Standing Rock Medic and Healer Council, was helping care for injured demonstrators [during the attack]. The council estimated that 300 people were treated for injuries, including 26 who were taken to area hospitals.

"What it was like was people walking through the dark of a winter North Dakota night, some of them so cold, and sprayed with water for so long, that their clothes were frozen to their body and crunching as they walked. So you could hear this crunching sound and this pop-pop-pop, and people yelling [to the police], 'We'll pray for you! We love you!'" Black Elk said, describing the scene as police sprayed protesters with water and fired tear gas and rubber bullets during the more than six-hour standoff.

[...] In the midst of the clash, the Medic and Healer Council, which was set up to provide health support to those fighting the pipeline, released a statement pleading with police to halt the use of water cannons. "As medical professionals, we are concerned for the real risk of loss of life due to severe hypothermia under these conditions," the statement said.

But the oversized police response didn't end there: the New York Times reports that law enforcement returned on Monday to arrest 16 water protectors.

Video footage, testimony, and photos of the violence are galvanizing global support for the activists, even as the battle against the pipeline feels more dire than ever in the wake of President-elect Donald Trump's victory. Indeed, a group of U.S. military veterans is planning a "deployment" to the Oceti Sakowin protest camp to support the water protectors' fight in early December.

"This country is repressing our people," said Michael A. Wood Jr., a Marine Corps veteran and "former Baltimore police officer who retired his badge in 2014 to become an advocate for national police reform," according to the veterans outlet Task & Purpose.

"If we're going to be heroes, if we’re really going to be those veterans that this country praises, well, then we need to do the things that we actually said we're going to do when we took the oath to defend the Constitution from enemies foreign and domestic," Wood Jr. added.

And members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe are also issuing urgent pleas to President Barack Obama, seeking decisive action to protect their drinking water and sacred sites before the president leaves office.

"Help us stop this pipeline. Stay true to your words, because you said you had our backs," said tribal member Kendrick Eagle, who met President Obama in 2014. "I believe that you can make this happen."

Watch Eagle's full statement here:


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

"I'm sure this will be all over the corporate media, right?"
That’s what one longtime Common Dreams reader said yesterday after the newsroom reported on new research showing how corporate price gouging surged to a nearly 70-year high in 2021. While major broadcasters, newspapers, and other outlets continue to carry water for their corporate advertisers when they report on issues like inflation, economic inequality, and the climate emergency, our independence empowers us to provide you stories and perspectives that powerful interests don’t want you to have. But this independence is only possible because of support from readers like you. You make the difference. If our support dries up, so will we. Our crucial Mid-Year Campaign is now underway and we are in emergency mode to make sure we raise the necessary funds so that every day we can bring you the stories that corporate, for-profit outlets ignore and neglect. Please, if you can, support Common Dreams today.

 

Abortion Rights Defenders Applaud Judge's Block on Utah 'Trigger Ban'

"Today is a win, but it is only the first step in what will undoubtedly be a long and difficult fight," said one pro-choice advocate.

Brett Wilkins ·


Scores Feared Dead and Wounded as Russian Missiles Hit Ukraine Shopping Center

"People just burned alive," said Ukraine's interior minister, while the head of the Poltava region stated that "it is too early to talk about the final number of the killed."

Brett Wilkins ·


Biodiversity Risks Could Persist for Decades After Global Temperature Peak

One study co-author said the findings "should act as a wake-up call that delaying emissions cuts will mean a temperature overshoot that comes at an astronomical cost to nature and humans that unproven negative emission technologies cannot simply reverse."

Jessica Corbett ·


Amnesty Report Demands Biden Take Action to End Death Penalty

"The world is waiting for the USA to do what almost 100 countries have achieved during this past half-century—total abolition of the death penalty," said the group.

Julia Conley ·


Pointing to 'Recently Obtained Evidence,' Jan. 6 Panel Calls Surprise Tuesday Hearing

The announcement came less than a week after the House panel delayed new hearings until next month, citing a "deluge" of fresh evidence.

Common Dreams staff ·

Common Dreams Logo