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BISMARK, N.D. — On Thursday, Nov. 3rd, a group of over one hundred people, including clergy and others, protested against the Dakota Access Pipeline at the steps of the State Capitol in Bismarck, resulting in eighteen arrests and charges of trespass. The group included seven members of Catholic Worker communities from across the United States.
The demonstration, which included prayer, holding banners, and singing, was in solidarity with the ongoing opposition to the $3.8 billion pipeline project that has been extended to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s reservation boundary, threatening tribal water supplies and sacred sites. The water protectors were demanding that Governor Jack Dalrymple intervene to stop the construction.
Thursday’s witness also specifically demanded that the Governor put an end to violence being used against the peaceful First Nation water protectors, with police using pepper spray, tear gas, rubber bullets and batons, resulting in severe injuries of many water protectors. Three clergy were release on bail. The seven Catholic Workers are still in jail until at least after refusing to pay $250 bail. This action brings the total to more than 425 arrests for nonviolent civil disobedience to the pipeline since August.
Clare Grady of the Ithaca Catholic Workers stated, “I went to Standing Rock to respond to the very clear invitation to join the Water Protectors in nonviolent direct action. Seeing what’s happening at Standing Rock is very revealing about how law and law enforcement is being used to protect the corporations’ willingness to destroy the sacred.”
The day began with opening prayer by a First Nation woman, followed by an interfaith service at Standing Rock with 524 clergy from across the nation. In addition there were another 1,000 people attending. The Christian denominations that were present repudiated the
Doctrine of Discovery, a church document justifying the stealing of native lands, of racism and enslavement of indigenous peoples since Pope Alexander VI wrote it in 1493. There are ongoing actions happening nation-wide at banks and corporations who have invested in the pipeline.
Among the eighteen arrested are Catholic Workers:
Jackie Allen-Douçot, St Martin de Porres, Hartford, CT
Mark Colville, Amistad Catholic Worker, New Haven CT
Brian Kavanagh, St Martin de Porres, Hartford, CT
Clare Grady, Ithaca Catholic Worker
Leah Grady, Ithaca Catholic Worker
Jessica Stewart, Ithaca Catholic Worker
Hannah Kinsella, Ithaca Catholic Worker
Featured photo by Monica D. Spencer/Flickr