ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Bismarck demonstrations condemn police response to protest

BISMARCK--Speaking out against law enforcement's use of water, rubber bullets, and mace on Dakota Access Pipeline protesters the previous night, activists gathered Monday on the street corners of a busy Bismarck intersection.

Shawnee Badger, right, shouts along with other protesters from the corner of Fourth Street and Main Avenue in Bismarck on Monday morning. The group of around 60 protesters stood on each corner of the busy downtown intersection shouting in unison at passing motorists. Photo by Tom Stromme / Bismarck Tribune
Shawnee Badger, right, shouts along with other protesters from the corner of Fourth Street and Main Avenue in Bismarck on Monday morning. The group of around 60 protesters stood on each corner of the busy downtown intersection shouting in unison at passing motorists. Photo by Tom Stromme / Bismarck Tribune

BISMARCK-Speaking out against law enforcement's use of water, rubber bullets, and mace on Dakota Access Pipeline protesters the previous night, activists gathered Monday on the street corners of a busy Bismarck intersection.

The group arrived at North Fourth Street and East Main Avenue around 11 a.m. Armed with signs and banners, they stood on the sidewalk chanting out against the pipeline and condemning police actions.

"It's time for President Obama to condemn these tactics and this pipeline," Standing Rock Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II said in a statement.

Some protesters were reported to have been injured Sunday night after being doused with water in 20-degree weather. Police also used pepper spray, rubber bullets and concussion grenades.

"Everybody's on no sleep right now," said Victor Botello, of California.

ADVERTISEMENT

Protesters met law enforcement at the Backwater Bridge, the same bridge where, last month, clashes between the two groups left burnt out vehicles. Protesters in Bismarck on Monday said they had gone out to the bridge to remove the vehicles.

"We were there to remove the barricade. They (law enforcement) promised it would be gone three weeks ago, it's not," said Ray Skenandore, of Wisconsin.

Skenandore said they had gone out to the bridge around 6 p.m. and were able to remove one of the two vehicles left on the bridge.

"We want that pathway (open) that's cut off now for emergency vehicles," Skenandore said. "Right now nothing can pass, nothing."

Rob Keller, a spokesman for the Morton County Sheriff's Department, said Mandan Rural Fire Department trucks were sent out to the bridge Sunday night to put out fires that protesters had set. But those fire hoses ended up being used to disperse the crowd as well.

"They brought in fire trucks to refill three different times so they can continuously unload the water on the people," said Shane Miers, of Ohio.

Botello said he was at the bridge Sunday night to take care of protesters who may have been hit with the water or injured.

"I, personally ... was there to take care of those that were coming to the fire, to keep them warm with warmth pads, with blankets, with water," he said.

ADVERTISEMENT

"The place was completely iced. People were kind of slipping around, but you know what, we were there. We stayed there," said Shereena Baker, of Kansas.

Baker said hundreds of gallons of water were used "constantly" on protesters last night.

"Having spent several hours Sunday night at the Morton County Law Enforcement Center as the protests unfolded, it's clear these dangerous altercations are a formula for disaster going forward," U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., said in a statement. "Any protesters should be able to exercise their First Amendment right lawfully and peacefully, but many of the actions we have seen over the past several weeks are not those of lawful protesters and they pose serious safety concerns to other protesters-especially as the temperatures drop-and law enforcement officers, as well as to children, residents, and workers trying to live their lives in their communities."

Police were seen observing the protesters as they stood on the sidewalks of Bismarck. The group also went to the Mandan Police Department to demonstrate.

Bismarck police arrested a 24-year-old Colorado man in connection to the protest on Monday, according to a news release from the police department. He was arrested for disorderly conduct.

What To Read Next
A resolution looking to allow the legislature to consider work requirements on the newly expanded Medicaid program is one step closer to the 2024 ballot.
With HB 1205, Reps Mike Lefor and Vicky Steiner would prohibit "sexually explicit content" in public libraries. Facing an uphill battle, the pair remain united in their commitment to see it passed.
The North Dakota Highway Patrol is investigating the crash.
City accountant reports increases in oil impact, sales tax, hospitality tax and occupancy tax revenue during the Jan. 24 meeting, commission approves two policy amendments.