After months of violent clashes between demonstrators and police during the standoff over the Dakota Access Pipeline, it looks like protestors may be getting some protection from US veterans. Business Insider reports that Wes Clark Jr, a former Army officer and activist, has issued a call to arms (Veterans Stand for Standing Rock) to fellow veterans to come to the protestors’ aid on December 4, 2016.
California-based Clark Jr., along with Marine Corps veteran and former Baltimore police officer Michael A. Wood Jr., started the Veterans for Standing Rock group in early November with the goal of mobilizing US veterans, fire fighters, ex-law enforcement officers, emergency medical personnel, and other former civil servants as a “peaceful and unarmed militia” to assist the protestors of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
“We are veterans of the United States Armed Forces, including the U.S. Army, United States Marine Corps, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force and U.S. Coast Guard and we are calling for our fellow veterans to assemble as a peaceful, unarmed militia at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation on Dec 4-7 and defend the water protectors from assault and intimidation at the hands of the militarized police force and DAPL security.”
The Standing Rock protest first emerged in April this year and has since attracted thousands of Native Americans and concerned citizens from across the country. The protestors continue to rally against the $3.7 billion oil pipeline, which would not only cross over native burial grounds, but potentially contaminate the primary source of drinking water for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe.
The Morton County Sheriff’s Department, along with National Guard soldiers, have attacked DAPL protestors with rubber bullets, tear gas bombs, concussion grenades, and water cannons, resulting in countless injuries. A UN investigation into human rights abuses is currently underway.
According to the “operations order” posted on the veterans’ page, “The First Americans have served in the Unites States Military, defending the soil of our homelands, at a greater percentage than any other group of Americans. There is no other people more deserving of veteran support.”
The organizers recommend bringing “body armor, gas masks, earplugs and shooting mufflers” to the site, but clearly state the need for peace and order, declaring that hate, violence or divisive behavior of any kind will not be tolerated.
The group’s GoFundMe Page has raised almost $70,000 of its $200,000 fundraising goal.
Via Business Insider