Over the past week, protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline have intensified dramatically, with dozens of arrests made on the frontlines of the conflict. Protesters are decrying the state’s deployment of increasingly militarized and increasingly violent law enforcement, as well as the lack of media focus on the crisis.
Fortunately, the protestors have a new advocate: the Hulk himself.
Actor and activist Mark Ruffalo recently joined the protests at Standing Rock, delivering solar panels to help power the camp during cold weather. He spoke to CNN’s Jack Tapper about his experience. While he didn’t personally witness any acts of violence towards the protesters, he confirmed that officers were heavily armed and “very, very aggressive.” One young protester had had her arm broken; several others had been strip-searched and thrown in jail naked.
A photo posted by Mark Ruffalo (@markruffalo) on Oct 26, 2016 at 3:06pm PDT
“There’s people being really hurt there; it’s very scary,” said Ruffalo. “The National Guard has been called in. This is not an emergency. This is not a national emergency. These are peaceful protesters.
“Every single person you see there was trained in peaceful resistance. They spend basically the entire day doing prayers, chanting. I’ve never been around so peaceful a stand.”
Here I am walking up to the front line at #standingrock with one of the greatest civil rights leaders of our time @revjjackson and sister @wahleah from @nativerenewables to meet the brave #waterprotectors peacefully holding the line. Come be part of this historical moment. Come #standwithstandingrock #nodapl
A video posted by Mark Ruffalo (@markruffalo) on Oct 26, 2016 at 1:43pm PDT
Despite being pressed by Tapper to “play devil’s advocate” and consider the developer’s argument (in short: the land is private and the tribes had their day in court already), Ruffalo stood firm: All rulings in favor of the Dakota Access Pipeline are superseded by the Standing Rock Sioux’s 1851 treaty with the federal government.
“That land that they’re talking about, that easement, is actually treaty land. That’s owned by the Native Americans. Obama could literally say that we’re honoring the 1851 treaty and we are not allowing that easement to be taken as private property.”
Friends listen to the words of Rev. Jesse Jackson from yesterday on the Frontline at #StandingRock with me. Situation could escalate today. Pray and call the Governor of North Dakota 701-328-2200. He is in charge of the militarized police. Let him know the whole world is watching! @barackobama #standwithstandingrock
A video posted by Mark Ruffalo (@markruffalo) on Oct 27, 2016 at 8:44am PDT
Despite the severity of the situation, however, Ruffalo still has hope, inspired by the unity and perseverance of the Native protestors.
“This particular issue has brought together five hundred tribes from all over the nation,” the actor said. “Never in the history of our nation have all of the Native American tribes come together under one issue. They see this as a very special historic moment for them.
“We can’t forget our humanity in the face of these kinds of things.”
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