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St. Augustine activists stand with Standing Rock

November 29, 2016 1:28 pm by: Category: News, Top Stories 3 Comments A+ / A-

By Gabrielle Garay | gargoyle@flagler.edu

As a new day begins, the sun illuminates North Dakota and the reservation of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the sixth largest Native American reservation site in the United States.

While the sun rises, so do the dozens of people sleeping under the open sky in campgrounds near the Cannonball River. Some are from the reservation, while others traveled across the United States, all with a common goal that unites them: fight to stop the building of the North Dakota Access Pipeline. Though hundreds of miles away, last Tuesday night on Nov. 15, the fight came to St. Augustine.

In an event organized on Facebook by St. Augustine resident Megan Soto, dozens came together to protest the building of the North Dakota Access Pipeline.

“When I saw that there was going to be a day of action I looked if there were any events in town. There weren’t, so mostly I decided ‘why not?’ ” Soto said.

As the sun was setting over St. Augustine the protesters crossed the Bridge of Lions with posters in hand. They made their way to a gazebo in the center of downtown to stand in solidarity with the protestors across the county. “We stand with Standing Rock!” and “Water is life!” rang through the air as the protestors chanted, drawing the attention of passers-by and First Coast News, an NBC affiliate in Jacksonville.

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Protestors stand with posters in hand on Cathedral Place

The protest also attracted the attention of Flagler College students.

“I participated in the Dakota Access Pipeline protest because I couldn’t just sit back and not take a stand on a serious issue … this protest was my opportunity to be active,” Flagler College student Cait Kimball said. “I think these protests, which have been held nationwide, are our generation’s moment in history to decide whether or not we will allow our country to continue down this path in which we sacrifice our water, environment, and the rights of the indigenous.”

Though the protesting has been peaceful in St. Augustine and many other cities across the nation, it hasn’t been the same for those on the front lines in North Dakota. In recent days, protests have grown increasingly violent as protestors and law enforcement continue to clash. Late Sunday, a crowd of an estimated 400 protestors engaged in what was described as an “ongoing riot” by Morton County Sheriff’s Department. In an effort to crowd control, officers fired rubber bullets, tear gas, and used water hoses, despite the weather being below freezing.

In response to the violence the Army Corps of Engineers issued a letter this Friday Nov. 25, according to Dave Archambault II, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. The letter informed the tribe that the Corps will be closing the land that has been the campsite for the protests, and protestors must vacate property by Dec. 5 or they will be arrested.

“This decision is necessary to protect the general public from the violent confrontation between protestors and law enforcement officials that have occurred in this area, and to prevent death, illness, or serious injury to inhabitants of encampments due to the harsh North Dakota winter conditions,” Col. John Henderson of the Corps said in the letter to Archambault II.

The protests center around the North Dakota Access Pipeline, a $3.7 billion dollar project that would span from North Dakota to Illinois. The pipeline would carry 470,000 barrels of oil a day, pump millions of dollars into local economies, and add 8,000 to 12,000 construction jobs, according to Energy Transfer, the builders of the pipeline.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s reservation lies just south of the pipelines planned path. The pipeline would snake across open land and ranches, land that the tribe claims are ancestral. This includes lands where their ancestors lived, hunted and were buried. The pipeline would cross the Missouri River, the reservation’s only source of drinking water. If the pipeline were to break or leak, it would be detrimental not only to the tribe, but to the entire river and environment, opponents say.

Soto hopes the protest in St. Augustine will encourage others to do the same.

“Awareness is the first step to change,” she said. “We get people traveling from all over the country – and world – to our town, so I hope that by taking the protest to the center of our tourism it will hopefully ripple out to communities well beyond St. Augustine.”

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St. Augustine activists stand with Standing Rock Reviewed by on . By Gabrielle Garay | gargoyle@flagler.edu As a new day begins, the sun illuminates North Dakota and the reservation of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the sixth By Gabrielle Garay | gargoyle@flagler.edu As a new day begins, the sun illuminates North Dakota and the reservation of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the sixth Rating: 0

Comments (3)

  • agario play

    good post thank you.

    http://www.uk-agario.com

  • Warren Celli

    This is a great overview article (link below) of the deceptive behind the scenes reasons why your fellow Americans protesting the Dakota pipeline are being beaten and brutally tortured by sell out ‘wealth enforcement’ goon squad cops. The only thing they are “protecting and serving ” here is billionaire greed; all of the other phony rationales are eyewash baloneyspeak.

    Excerpt;

    “Why, then, is Energy Transfer Partners so intent on building this thing? The equation that answers that one is far simpler. If the pipeline indeed carries 470,000 barrels per day, at a rate of $8 per barrel, the company should gross about $1.37 billion per year. Operating costs are low (remember, there are just 40 employees running this thing), so it shouldn’t take long to recoup the capital costs. That leaves a lot for the investors, like Energy Transfer Partners’ billionaire CEO Kelcy Warren, or reputed billionaire and President-elect Donald Trump.

    Yes, Trump is invested in the companies behind the pipeline, though the amount of his stake decreased substantially between 2015 and 2016. Meanwhile, Warren donated more than $100,000 to Trump’s campaign, clearly hoping he would remove federal obstacles to the pipeline.

    These numbers are worth considering when you see the images of the “water protectors” getting pummeled with water cannons, rubber bullets, and tear gas. They’re not being attacked in the name of jobs, the economy, or energy independence. They’re being attacked in the name of profit.”

    http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/climate_desk/2016/11/the_dakota_access_pipeline_will_not_create_jobs_or_energy_independence.html

  • Warren Celli

    Congratulations and thank you to Megan Soto and all of those who took part in this demonstration, especially the Flagler College students. I was especially impressed by Cait Kimball’s stated recognition of the pivotal moment in history that we all exist in, it bears repeating;

    “I participated in the Dakota Access Pipeline protest because I couldn’t just sit back and not take a stand on a serious issue … this protest was my opportunity to be active,” Flagler College student Cait Kimball said. “I think these protests, which have been held nationwide, are our generation’s moment in history to decide whether or not we will allow our country to continue down this path in which we sacrifice our water, environment, and the rights of the indigenous.”

    As the editor and publisher of a banned and confiscated Free Speech and Civil Rights advocating newspaper, the “Saint Aug Dog”, published right here in Saint Augustine, it is refreshing to me to see this vibrant new and vital energy emerging that is concerned about our environment and our basic human rights.

    One of the first things one learns when getting involved in protests is that there are many serious issues that need attention. Balance is key, as is learning the mechanics of the many divisive and deflective deceptions at play. It will help you focus and prioritize your energies. Learning from others so as to not waste time reinventing the wheel is a good place to start.

    For a run down on why there are so many restrictions on your Free Speech and freedoms, and why you might feel so over controlled here in Saint Augustine, this issue of the “Saint Aug Dog” is a good starting point.

    http://saintaugdog.com/sadissues/issue1/1visualindex.html

    Another great source of almost daily information on current events is Ed Slavin’s blog “Clean Up City of St. Augustine, Florida.

    http://cleanupcityofstaugustine.blogspot.com/

    Thanks again for your good citizenship and keep hammering! Ideas and protests are like wedges— it is persistence that drives them home!

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