Cannon Ball, ND — Last night, water protectors near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, attempted to clear Highway 1806 of burned-out military vehicles and wound up under an all-out assault by heavily militarized police, who used tear gas, mace, concussion grenades, rubber bullets, and water cannons — in temperatures well below freezing — in an attempt to clear them from a bridge.
By midnight, at least 160 people reported suffering injuries, and medics on scene confirmed a 13-year-old girl had been shot in the face, according to Unicorn Riot, which did not say whether the shot was live ammunition or a rubber bullet.
A statement released by the head medic of the Oceti Sakowin camp shortly before midnight said 167 people, including three elders, had suffered injuries, and that seven people had to be hospitalized. Emergency medics performed CPR on an elder who went into cardiac arrest, and though they were able to resuscitate him at the scene, he remains in critical condition. Further, as the medic noted, police intentionally targeted the water protectors’ heads and legs during the attack.
Emergency medics from both the Standing Rock Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux Tribes attended to the injured, wet, and freezing water protectors at the Oceti Sakowin Camp and in the gymnasium, with hundreds suffering hypothermia, blunt trauma and open wounds from nonlethal projectiles, and contamination from CS gas — tear gas — deemed illegal under international law during war, but acceptable for use by police.
According to a joint statement by Indigenous Environmental Network, Honor the Earth, and Sacred Stone Camp on the incident:
“Hundreds of water protectors were injured at the Standing Rock encampments when law enforcement blasted them with water cannons in freezing temperatures Sunday evening. The attacks came as water protectors used a semi-truck to remove burnt military vehicles that police had chained to concrete barriers weeks ago, blocking traffic on Highway 1806. Water protectors’ efforts to clear the road and improve access to the camp for emergency services were met with tear gas, an LRAD (Long Range Acoustic Device), stinger grenades, rubber bullets, and indiscriminate use of a water cannon with an air temperature of 26 degrees Fahrenheit. Some flares shot by law enforcement started grass fires which were ignored by the water cannons and had to be extinguished by water protectors. Law enforcement also shot down three media drones and targeted journalists with less lethal rounds.
“National Lawyers Guild legal observers on the frontlines have confirmed that multiple people were unconscious and bleeding after being shot in the head with rubber bullets.”
Due to the sheer number of serious injuries, the local Cannon Ball community graciously opened its school gymnasium as a makeshift emergency medical facility.
Around 400 people were kettled — encircled by police from both sides — on the Backwater Bridge, as police seemed to use every nonlethal weapon at their disposal against the peaceful water protectors.
Read the rest at FreeThoughtProject.com.