Of the hundreds of demonstrators who protested in front of the governor’s mansion over the weekend, dozens now face charges. Tiffany Bui reports.
** Update 8/31/2021: All protesters have been released **
Of the hundreds of demonstrators who protested in front of the governor’s mansion over the weekend, dozens now face charges.
Tiffany Bui reports that 69 people were arrested Saturday, according to the Ramsey County jail roster.
Some protesters were booked on multiple charges, such as rioting, terroristic threats and damage to property. Jaike Spotted Wolf is a leader of Migizi Camp, an Indigenous-led collective that was one of the main organizers of the protests. Spotted Wolf, who uses the pronouns nunpa nagi meaning Two Spirit in Lakota, said the police response and the charges were not proportionate to what was largely a nonviolent protest. Spotted Wolf said the police response and the charges were not proportionate to what was largely a nonviolent protest.
“What one procures in their mind of what constitutes a riot would be, smashing windows and property destruction and violence sometimes,” Spotted Wolf said. “ And that was not the case, during this particular action … most people were either just standing around behind caution tape, or sitting down on the ground with locked arms.”
Spotted Wolf said protesters booked into the Ramsey County Jail were slowly being released in groups, where other activists are providing food, water and other support.
The mass arrests followed several days of protests against the pipeline construction headed by Canadian company Enbridge Energy. All last week, demonstrators showed up at the state capitol for a series of Indigenous-led protests called Treaties over Tar Sands.
Activists say over 800 protesters have been arrested since the Line 3 permit was approved in November 2020. Jaike Spotted Wolf said pipeline opponents have good reason to be active.
“It’s all to bring awareness to the devastation that Enbridge will bring to the state of Minnesota and Indigenous communities, and to bring awareness to treaty rights and Indigenous sovereignty, in terms of how treaties are exploited and looked over every time that a billion-dollar company comes in to try to implement resource extraction,” nunpa nagi said.
On Monday, the Minnesota Court of Appeals backed up the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s approval of a key Line 3 permit, limiting opponents’ legal options for stopping the pipeline. The pipeline is expected to be operational by the end of the year.
Photo Credit: Brad Sigal
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