This past weekend saw some of the largest targeted protest and direct action activity since the protest’s inception in August – including evidence that protestors flew a drone directly at a security helicopter.
127 protestors were arrested over Saturday and Sunday bringing the total arrests to a staggering 269. On Saturday near ND highway 1806, between 200 and 300 protestors gathered on private property to disrupt Dakota Access construction activity. Some protestors attached themselves to equipment while others blocked roads to impede responding vehicles from entering.
Blocking the road is inherently dangerous as officers pointed out to protestors who refused to move. “If something happens, you will be liable. I’m worried about the people in Standing Rock needing emergency services and that includes everybody right here. You need to clear this up because if anything would happen medically, fire, emergency services, we have to be able to get through,” law enforcement officials told protestors.
Protestors also flew a drone and shot arrows at a circling police helicopter in an effort to block the law enforcement aircraft from the site. Officers shot down the drone which represented an obvious safety hazard for those aboard the helicopter but also a violation of FAA rules on small unmanned aircraft. Two individuals were charged, one for stalking, the other for reckless endangerment.
With the absence of any federal law enforcement to help corral the protest, the National Sherriff’s Association is simply outnumbered by the protestors, whose ranks continue to swell.