On Nov. 20, law enforcement officials used tear gas and water hoses on Dakota Access pipeline protesters, reports the Guardian. A video tweeted by the Indigenous Environmental Network shows water being sprayed on protesters in below-freezing temperatures. Rob Keller, the spokesman of the Morton County Sheriff’s Office, said to NBC News that the use of water was to extinguish fires set by the protesters. However, Atsa E’sha Hoferer, a member of the Walker River Paiute Tribe, told NBC News that protesters were starting fires in order to stay warm in the weather.
“I’m just a father…that loves his water, that wants his water to be clean for his children and grandchildren," Hoferer said.
"As medical professionals, we are concerned for the real loss of life due to severe hypothermia under these conditions," said the Standing Rock Medic & Healer Council, in a statement released on Facebook.
This incident is not the first time reports have circulated of aggressive treatment of Dakota Access pipeline protesters. On Sept. 4, Democracy Now! released video of police attacking protesters with dogs and pepper spray.
The Dakota Access pipeline poses are reported threat to the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, their sacred lands, and the cleanliness of the water.
At the Nov. 20 protest, reports Jade Begay, a spokesperson for the Indigenous Environmental Network, seven people were taken to the hospital and 167 people were injured. The law enforcement’s violent interaction with Dakota Access Pipeline protesters began after protesters tried to move burned trucks that were blocking travel along a bridge.
“That barricade poses a danger not just to everyone at the camp, but also to Cannon Ball and other communities that are south,” said Jade Begay, a spokesperson for the Indigenous Environmental Network.
“They’re using that barricade as an excuse for us not to be able to lawfully protest,” said Frank Archambault, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
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