Thousands of Veterans Expected at DAPL Protest Site by End of the Weekend
Several thousand military veterans are expected to show up to the Dakota Access pipeline protests next week.
Reports on social media say many have already arrived.
Witnesses say the veterans were singing on the opposite side of the bridge from Army Corps of Engineer officials and military vehicles.
The Veterans Stand for Standing Rock group want to aid the protesters’ front lines starting Monday, already raising more than one million dollars on their GoFundMe page.
The Oceti Sakowin Camp has grown since KVRR went there in August.
Reports estimate 5,000 to 8,000 people are there as of Saturday.
Some claim the camps have dining services, churches, medical centers and sweat lodges.
In a statement on Friday, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch urges both protesters and law enforcement to refrain from violence.
“Let me stress that violence is never the answer and that all have a responsibility to find common ground around a peaceful resolution where all voices are heard,” she wrote.
State medical officials say they’re prepared to help protesters in the event of a harsh winter storm or other crisis.
Law enforcement says they’re willing to move from the Backwater bridge by December 4th if protesters stay in the main camp south of the bridge and don’t trespass.
“We all want this to de-escalate and end peacefully,” said Cass County Sheriff Paul Laney. “However, that takes an effort by the protest movement to police their own groups. We truly hope this can happen.
Laney says law enforcement will not be moving in on the camp on Monday or in the future, but asks all protesters to evacuate the camp for “safety reasons,” in accordance with the federal government.
The exact plans for what law enforcement will do at the protest site on December 5th are unclear.