Former military officer and political activist Wes Clark Jr. is planning a large and well-coordinated deployment of veterans to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline in its tracks.
Clark Jr.’s goal is to muster a force of 500 veterans on Dec. 4 at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation to send a message that the pipeline, which will transport 470,000 barrels of oil every single day, is “immoral, and wrong, and dangerous to us all,” Task & Purpose reports.
For Clark Jr., a force of veterans might be just what the protest needs to turn the tide against the pipeline.
“Most civilians who’ve never served in a uniform are gutless worms who’ve never been in a fight in their life,” Clark Jr. said. “So if we don’t stop it, who will?”
The Standing Rock Sioux Reservation is the location of a months-long standoff between protesters, many of whom are Native, and other liberal activists. So far, police have made about 500 arrests.
Joining Clark Jr. is Marine Corps veteran Michael A. Wood Jr., who left the Baltimore police force to advocate for police reform. Now, Wood Jr. wants to see a three-day deployment of veterans to the reservation to “prevent progress on the Dakota Access Pipeline and draw national attention to the human rights warriors of the Sioux tribes.”
“This country is repressing our people,” Wood Jr. said. “If we’re going to be heroes, if we’re really going to be those veterans that this country praises, well, then we need to do the things that we actually said we’re going to do when we took the oath to defend the Constitution from enemies foreign and domestic.”
Clark Jr. said the deployment will be totally nonviolent.
Assuming the two can get enough veterans together, the deployment will take place on Dec. 4. The next day, veterans will participate in a healing ceremony with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. Then, they will all march toward the Missouri River and attempt to cross it in order to completely encircle the drilling pad. But they’ll have to make it through guards first, and those guards have already used physical force to repel such attempts.
Police have so far used rubber bullets, tear gas and concussion grenades against protesters.
“We’re just not going to let people or protestors in large groups come in and threaten officers, that’s not happening,” Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier said.
But whether the deployment even happens, let alone if it’s successful, remains to be seen.
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