Reportage. After dozens of demonstrators have been injured by police, a group of veterans are planning to join the Standing Rock protests on Dec. 4.

Soldiers are coming to the defense of Standing Rock

Since last spring, the Lakota people have been camping at Standing Rock, North Dakota. More than 6,000 Native Americans have come from different areas of the country to this demonstration to defend their ancestral lands from a 300-km mega pipeline, commissioned by the government and multinationals in violation of treaties signed in defense of Indian lands. The fuel pipeline could destroy aquifers, their access to clean water, for generations.

In this dramatic moment when the Ku Klux Klan is celebrating the advent of the new President-elect Donald Trump, indigenous people have rushed in fear of new Wounded Knee incidents, from new repressions, new massacres and new deportations against the peaceful protectors of the water at Standing Rock.

These are resolute protests, yet peaceful. So far, the government has responded repressively and violently, with the use of attack dogs, water cannons and rubber bullets that have caused dozens of serious injuries and the arrest of numerous activists.

Now, hundreds of Native veterans have come to this area. For years, they put their lives at stake for America, and now they’re doing it to defend the protests in defense of this land. After witnessing the brutal methods used by the police against the Native Americans at Standing Rock, U.S. veterans announced their support on a GoFundMe page: “We are veterans of the United States Armed Forces, including the U.S. Army, United States Marine Corps, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force and U.S. Coast Guard and we are calling for our fellow veterans to assemble as a peaceful, unarmed militia at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation on Dec 4-7 and defend the water protectors from assault and intimidation at the hands of the militarized police force and DAPL security.”

The former soldiers also said they’re willing to catch a bullet in order to defend the Indian cause. They will wear their old military uniforms, including bulletproof vests and gas masks, since they know the police will fire tear gas against them. The former Marine Michael Wood also added: “This country is repressing our people. If we really want to be those veterans that our country admires, then it is our duty to defend the Constitution from our internal enemies who do not respect it.”

Dec. 4 is an important day because it’s the day the protest camp is scheduled to be evicted and anyone who refuses to leave will be arrested. The army is already on the site, ready to intervene with the same special tanks used in Iraq. The water protectors are not willing to back down, so there is a risk of a real carnage.

To support the native tribes, on Nov. 27 there was a demonstration at Standing Rock that culminated in a concert with several artists, including Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, the John Trudell & Bad Dog band, Quiltman, Mark Shark, Ricky Epstein, Jane Fonda, Heather Rae Sage and many others.

From his prison in Coleman, Florida, Leonard Peltier, who has spent 41 years behind bars for a controversial double-murder conviction, wrote a letter of support to the new Standing Rock indigenous resistance.

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