As the nation was transfixed by the flaming dumpster fire that was the second Presidential Debate, some might say that it was a perfect time for a Federal Appeals Court to quietly deny the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe the injunction they sought. If successful it would have blocked further construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline.
It just so happened to be Indigenous Peoples’ Day, AKA Columbus Day, when this information was released to activists in North Dakota. None of this was lost on the protesters, one of whom included actress Shailene Woodley. She broadcasted live on Facebook, as news of the denied injunction circulated amongst the thousands of natives and native allies who flocked to the Sacred Stone Camp to stand in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. Woodley spoke at length about the “coincidental” time of the ruling:
“So the reason why we’re here is that last night, the US court of appeals decided to deny the injunction to halt the construction of the pipeline...so we decided to show up and stand in solidarity with Standing Rock to show the world, mainstream media and the government that we’re not going to back down, regardless of what decisions they make. By the way, today is National Indigenous Day, which some people call Columbus Day, which is horrifying and disgusting and deeply tragic. The fact they decided to make that decision, and release that information in the wee morning of this day is telling to the current paradigm that our government...also last night was the Presidential debate so they decided to release it then.”
Heavily armed riot police started to arrive on scene, and Woodley amongst 27 other protesters would be arrested for trespassing and “participating in a riot”. The alleged “riot” was caught on camera by Woodley:
The protesters were peaceful and unarmed, as a young representative of the International Indigenous Youth Council told Woodley on camera:
“We are here fighting, we came here peacefully, prayerfully and just to pray while our brothers and sisters locked down the machinery at 5’o clock this morning. The leader of this movement got arrested, so I’m leading the movement for the International Indigenous Youth Council. We’re here because they blocked us out, they told us we were going to arrest us, they arrested a few people. We’re waiting to extract our brothers and sisters and then we’re going back to camp. It is Indigenous People’s Day. So I ask you to come and stand in solidarity with us. We are peaceful. We are unarmed. Send your prayers.”
Police armed with guns and batons asked the protesters to leave the site, which they did immediately. As they were leaving, they were met with armored vehicles, officers in bulletproof vests, who were heavily armed. There is a mounting concern that officers will become violent with the peaceful and unarmed civilians who have gathered to protest the destruction of sacred land.
It's not the first time the forces around DAPL have used "coincidental" timing to their advantage. When the injunction was first filed, Energy Transfer Partners demolished a sacred site during a holiday weekend while the courts were closed. They also used dogs and mace to attack pregnant women and children.
Watch Shailene's full video below: