Rubber bullets fired at pipeline project protesters

Washington, Nov 3 (IANS) Police in the US shot rubber bullets and used pepper spray on a gathering of people who were demonstrating against a controversial oil pipeline project.

The demonstrators — who call themselves water protectors — faced the police action on the shoreline of the Cantapeta Creek, north of the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation in North Dakota on Wednesday, NBC news reported.

After a few relatively peaceful days at the campground where thousands have gathered to demonstrate against a controversial North Dakota oil pipeline, demonstrators put out calls on social media to “make your way to the river” for a “river action,” but to do so “in prayer.”

In a Facebook Live stream, Cempoalli Twenny, who says he is at Standing Rock to protect the water, said, “The pipeline is getting really close to the river now, so it’s crunch time.”

Demonstrators on the shoreline prayed, played drums, sang, and waded into the river towards the base of the hill where armed police stood.

A confrontation erupted after law enforcement dismantled a wooden bridge that demonstrators constructed to access the sacred site.

It was a “100 percent peaceful protest,” according to activist Erin Schrode, who was shot in the lower back with a rubber bullet while standing on the shoreline opposite police.

Schrode had joined others from the camp in solidarity as they prayed on the shoreline.

Law enforcement vehicles and personnel have been stationed on a hill overlooking the shoreline in question for a number of days, and the hill is recognized as a burial ground and sacred site by the Standing Rock Sioux.

On Monday, people who identified themselves as water protectors waded across the creek to the hill to request that law enforcement move off the sacred area.