Amnesty International USA: Authorities Have Duty to Protect Right to Peacefully Protest

North Dakota National Guard at barricades leading to Standing Rock on Friday, September 9, 2016. Native News Online photo by Shane McSauby

North Dakota National Guard at barricades leading to Standing Rock on Friday, September 9, 2016. Native News Online photo by Shane McSauby

Published September 10, 2016

NEW YORK – After the federal court decision and federal intervention on Friday on the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline, Amnesty International USA restated its position that the American Indians and their allies have the right to peaceful protest.

“Authorities have a duty to protect the rights of Indigenous peoples, including their right to peacefully protest,” said Tarah Demant, a senior director with Amnesty International USA. “It is the responsibility of the police to ensure the right to peaceful protest and freedom of expression.”

During the past four weeks, thousands of American Indians and supporters have gone to the encampment near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota.

Last Saturday during Labor Day weekend, the company installing the 1,180 mile oil pipeline bulldozed sacred sites on ancestral lands of the Sioux. When land protectors crossed over a fence to ask the construction workers to stop, a private security firm hired by the oil company unleased attack dogs on the land protectors.

Land Protectors at North Dakota State Capitol in Bismarck. State Police "keeping" peace. Photo by Shane McSauby

Land Protectors at North Dakota State Capitol in Bismarck. State Police “keeping” peace. Photo by Shane McSauby

On Thrusday, the day before the federal district decision was to be announced, North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple deployed the North Dakota National Guard to assist state and local law enforcement.

Members of Indigenous communities from across the country have gathered in recent weeks at construction sites for the Dakota Access Pipeline near the border of North and South Dakota, close to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. The Tribe intends to appeal today’s decision.

Following the court’s ruling, the U.S. government announced that it would suspend construction in the area pending a review of the land in order to determine “whether it will need to reconsider any of its previous decisions regarding the Lake Oahe site under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) or other federal laws.”

Amnesty International USA’s  initial letters to county and state authorities can be found here:

http://amnestyusa.org/sites/default/files/Letter-to-Morton-County-Sheriff_8-24-16.pdf

http://amnestyusa.org/sites/default/files/Letter-to-North-Dakota-Highway-Patrol_8-24-16.pdf

http://www.amnestyusa.org/news/press-releases/amnesty-international-usa-to-observe-north-dakota-pipeline-protests

The post Amnesty International USA: Authorities Have Duty to Protect Right to Peacefully Protest appeared first on Native News Online.

This BBSNews article was syndicated from Native News Online, and written by Levi Rickert. Read the original article here.