DAPL protesters brace for federal ambush at Standing Rock


The 100 or so remaining demonstrators at the site where they have camped out for months to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline construction chanted and drummed as law enforcement officials from numerous jurisdictions gathered north of the camp. Authorities and protestors were waiting for the Wednesday afternoon deadline that Gov. Doug Burgum set for the camp to clear so private contractors can finish the controversial pipeline.

In the snowcapped Oceti Sakowin campsite in Cannon Ball, North Dakota, several activists broadcast from numerous Facebook Live feeds as protesters braced for what is likely a bitter end to a months-long resistance to the pipeline. As of 2 p.m. ET, more than 6,000 people watched a Facebook Live stream that showed protesters braving the snow, sleet, and rain to make one last stand against what they see as desecration of the sacred land of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe.

"Today is not going to be one of the proudest days for the state of North Dakota," one protester declared in a Facebook Live video. "This is a stain on the history of North Dakota and America. This is the 21st century Trail of Tears."

Once covered in tents and makeshift structures, Oceti Sakowin is now mostly empty, save for the garbage left behind by protesters who are already gone. One building burned in the background, with one video suggesting the protesters would rather burn it themselves than have law enforcement take it from them. Many carried upside down American flags, while others unfurled a banner that read "Who are you serving and protecting?"

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Facebook Live

One of the most compelling videos was of aerial footage taken from a drone. It showed what's left of the protesters' camp in addition to the gathering of law enforcement to the north. A protester in another video claimed law enforcement had technology that could block Facebook Live feeds so that video of the actual raid doesn't reach the internet. It also claimed that news media were being kept well outside of the camp for the same reason.

In the many Facebook groups dedicated to the #NoDAPL movement, protesters pledge to stand but not resist in an effort to keep the raid from getting violent. It's unclear what methods law enforcement will use to clear the camp, but the protesters are pledging to keep their movement going even long after Wednesday's deadline.

"You cannot arrest a movement," one protester said.

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