The above photo shows a man wearing a sopping wet t-shirt after he was pepper sprayed (and treated) during a clash between indigenous protesters and construction crews. He was one of 30 people who were sprayed during a protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) near Cannon Ball, North Dakota. The resulting photos and video footage are a little bit graphic.
The incident took place on Saturday, and social media has been picking up on the story (under the #NoDAPL hashtag) throughout Sunday. The Chicago Tribune took a straight-up approach to outlining the protesters’ concerns, which are significant. The construction crews of the planned $3.8 billion pipeline began to plow through land that may contain Standing Rock Sioux Tribe burial sites. There are also fears that the pipeline — which would cross the Missouri River — will contaminate the tribe’s drinking water.
Protests began, according to The Daily Mail, when construction crews forged ahead before a decision by a federal court, which will consider papers filed by the tribe with claims of “significant cultural and historic value” on the land. The Tribune made upfront mention of several injuries with warring claims from both the construction company and the tribe. Members of both parties were taken to the hospital, and in addition to the pepper spraying of protesters, attack dogs were reportedly released by the company. Some tribe members appear to have been bitten by the dogs, and the company maintains that the protesters were also violent against crew members.
On Sunday, social media began circulating images and videos of construction guards reportedly threatening protesters with dogs. One particularly shocking image shows a dog with a bright red coloring around its mouth. You can see the picture here, and some believe it may have been photoshopped. However, the appearance of blood matches up with these still images captured from a Democracy Now video.
Indeed, Democracy Now sent a crew to cover the protests, and you can see the resulting footage here. The video clip is somewhat graphic, as it contains expletives and shows some blood and people recovering from pepper spraying (although a construction worker who holds a spray can denies spraying anyone). At the end of the video, the protesters pushed back the construction crews, who climbed into their trucks and drove away.