Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Corporate gatekeepers and big tech monopolists are making it more difficult than ever for independent media to survive. Please chip in today.

Water protectors peacefully sang, drummed, and chanted as riot police blocked them from the pipeline drill site.

Water protectors peacefully sang, drummed, and chanted as riot police blocked them from the pipeline drill site. (Screenshot: Johnny Dangers/Facebook)

Water Protectors Arrested, Tear-Gassed for Peaceful Prayer Walk at DAPL Site

'All eyes on Standing Rock as once again indigenous water protectors are being shot, gassed & assaulted in defense of capitalism.'

Nika Knight Beauchamp

Water protectors battling the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline once again faced down police in riot gear, tear gas, and arrests on Monday as Indigenous activists attempted to hold a peaceful prayer walk at the pipeline drilling site alongside the Missouri River near Cannon Ball, North Dakota.

Observers were swift to call attention to the police crackdown:

While the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers last month denied an easement necessary for drilling under the Missouri River, the company behind the pipeline is looking to resume the project once President-elect Donald Trump takes office.

The Republican-dominated North Dakota legislature is also pushing legislation that would make it legal to run over protestors with cars, among other anti-protest measures.

Still, despite the odds, harsh winter weather, and growing tension, Indigenous water protectors and allies are continuing to maintain a presence near the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's reservation, to protect the Missouri River's water.

In video footage taken at the scene Monday afternoon, water protectors can be seen peacefully chanting and singing in front of a line of riot police holding batons and other weapons:

And in footage filmed later in the evening, clouds of tear gas waft over the water protectors, and the sound of something being shot can be heard as the activists hold strong and continue their peaceful stand into the night:

At least three water protectors were arrested, Reuters reports. Participants in the action also claimed on social media that the police were firing rubber bullets, and alleged that one person was struck by a police snowmobile and taken in an ambulance from the scene:

"On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, ND law enforcement shot at and tear gassed people praying and expressing their 1st amendment rights," observed Dakota/Lakota Sioux writer Ruth Hopkins on Twitter.

And despite widespread condemnation of such aggressive tactics, the police appear to be ramping up their presence. The Indigenous Environmental Network's Dallas Goldtooth posted photos on Facebook Tuesday of "an AN/TWQ-1 Avenger vehicle," a surface-to-air missile system, overlooking the protest camp.

"This is intimidation tactics 101," Goldtooth wrote. "Demonstrate the extent of your power in hopes to deter action."


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

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Senators Set to Leave Town for 10-Day Recess Without Action on Gun Violence Crisis

"How many more children, mothers, and fathers need to be murdered in cold blood before the Senate has the guts to ban assault weapons and take on the NRA?" asked Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Jake Johnson ·


Scientists to BlackRock Vice Chairman: New Fossil Fuel Development 'Incompatible' With 1.5°C

"The only responsible course of action is to do everything in our power to stop fossil fuel expansion and further emissions."

Jessica Corbett ·


Goldman Prize Awarded to Activists Who Showed Nature's 'Amazing Capability to Regenerate'

"While the many challenges before us can feel daunting, and at times make us lose faith, these seven leaders give us a reason for hope and remind us what can be accomplished in the face of adversity."

Julia Conley ·


Faith Leaders Call for Federal Election Monitors in Georgia to Protect Black Voters

"It is imperative that our election this November is monitored to preserve ballot integrity and ensure ballot security."

Brett Wilkins ·


'Inaction Is Bought': Here Are the Receipts on NRA's Purchase of GOP

"The issue is money in politics," said Nina Turner after the nation's latest mass killing of students and teachers. Right-wing lawmakers are "allowing children to die because of the gun lobby."

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo