VIDEO: Dakota Access pipeline protesters react to violent confrontation with police

Scenes from Standing Rock.

CREDIT: Nexus Media
CREDIT: Nexus Media

A law enforcement crackdown on protests against the Dakota Access pipeline turned violent this weekend. Officers reportedly used tear gas and fire hoses on men and women demonstrating in freezing cold temperatures.

After protesters tried to clear burned-out vehicles from a bridge, the Morton County Sheriff’s Department, calling demonstrators “very aggressive,” unleashed a barrage of water cannons and rubber bullets. Watch the aftermath of the violent clash here:

According to a statement from indigenous groups, there were numerous injuries among the hundreds of protesters, including “multiple people… unconscious and bleeding after being shot in the head with rubber bullets.” A 21-year-old protester from New York was hit by a concussion grenade and “the impact blew her arm apart,” according to a statement from the American Indian Movement on Tuesday.

Protesters, who call themselves “water protectors,” have fought the pipeline for months. The $3.8 billion project is set to run from North Dakota to Illinois, crossing the Missouri River just north of the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. The Standing Rock Sioux say a leak at the river would contaminate their sole source of water.

Sunday night marked just the latest clash with armed law enforcement. Previous incidents have prompted Amnesty International USA and the United Nations to investigate possible human rights abuses.

President Barack Obama is looking at rerouting the pipeline, but Energy Transfer Partners, the firm in charge of the project, is intent on building the pipeline as planned. President-elect Donald Trump is expected to be an ally to Energy Transfer Partners, having invested up to $1 million in the company.

This story is made available by Nexus Media, a syndicated newswire covering climate, energy, policy, art and culture.