Apprehension and distrust pervade North Dakota protest site as promises from state that there are no plans to forcibly remove people does little to assuage fears
Police violence against Standing Rock protesters in North Dakota has risen to extraordinary levels, and activists and observers fear that, with two evacuation orders looming, the worst is yet to come.
A litany of munitions, including water cannons, combined with ambiguous government leadership and misleading police statements, have resulted in mass arrests, serious injuries and a deeply sown atmosphere of fear and distrust on the banks of the Missouri river.
Statements by the US Army Corps of Engineers and North Dakota state government that, despite their orders of evacuation, there are no plans to forcibly remove protesters opposing the Dakota Access pipeline have done little to assuage fears.
As the first snows have fallen and more protesters arrive in support, apprehension at the encampments about the coming days is running high.
“We’re going to hope for the absolute best,” said Linda Black Elk, a member of the Catawba Nation who works with the Standing Rock Medic & Healer Council. “If they do attempt to remove people forcibly, we are certainly preparing for mass casualties.”