By Alexa Erickson | Collective Evolution
According to demonstration organizers, more than 2,000 U.S. military veterans plan to form a human shield to protect protesters against the North Dakota Access Pipeline, in response to a federal deadline that pressures peaceful activists to evacuate the camp they have been occupying.
Growing exhausted of the protests, North Dakota law enforcement has sought desperate measures to put the event to an end, while those occupying the site are determined to make change no matter how long or hard they have to fight. Law enforcement had previously tried to cut off supplies to the camp, but failed to follow through due to public outcry and a growing awareness of their unethical treatment of the protestors.
Protestors have been rallying for months to stop the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline from moving forward, as it would disrupt the lake near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, harming water resources and sacred Native American sites.
Now, former U.S. Marine Michael A. Wood Jr. and Wesley Clark Jr., a writer whose father is retired U.S. Army General Wesley Clark, have formed Veterans Stand for Standing Rock. They plan to round up thousands of demonstrators at camps located on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers land as a means for protecting organizers.
U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard, a Democrat from Hawaii and a Major in the Hawaii Army National Guard, said on Twitter that she, too, will join the protectors who plan to build the human shield this Sunday.
Morton County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Rob Keller responded to the news, saying his agency was aware of the veterans’ plans, though he did not explain how law enforcement officials planned to handle the ordeal.