Inside Climate News - The American Civil Liberties Union and Amnesty International are stepping up calls for the Department of Justice to investigate what they feel is excessive use of force by law enforcement in North Dakota in response to protests against the Dakota Access pipeline.
The renewed calls for action come after police used tactics Sunday night that included the use of rubber bullets, concussion grenades, tear gas and water cannons sprayed on hundreds of protesters for hours in freezing temperatures, according to live streamed video and protesters' accounts.
At least 300 individuals received medical treatment during Sunday's standoff. One protester, Sophia Wilansky who traveled to Cannon Ball, N.D. from New York, faces potential amputation after an explosion severely damaged her left arm.
Pipeline protest coalition - The Army Corps has no authority to evict
us from these lands. The Oceti Sakowin encampment is located on the
ancestral homeland of the Lakota, Mandan, Arikara, and Northern Cheyenne
- on territory never ceded to the U.S. government, and affirmed in the
1851 Treaty of Ft. Laramie as sovereign land belonging to the Great
Sioux Nation. The encampment is, in many respects, a reclamation of
this stolen territory and the right to self-determination guaranteed in
the treaties. Our water protectors are not trespassers and can never be
trespassers. The Army Corps also has no authority to diminish our
right to free speech - where in the Constitution does it establish zones
for the right to free speech? Do corporations now decide whether the
Constitution applies? We are not moving, and we will not be silenced.
"Law enforcement shouldn't treat protesters like an enemy on the battlefield and that unfortunately is what we saw Sunday night," Amnesty International USA spokesman Eric Ferrero said. "We have very serious concerns about law enforcement violating the human right of protesters."
Amnesty sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch on Oct. 28 calling for the Department of Justice to investigate the actions of law enforcement agencies