Hundreds rally, shut down traffic in downtown Pittsburgh in show of support for Red Warrior and Sacred Stone Camps

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Pittsburgh—More than 150 Pittsburghers came together in downtown Pittsburgh on Thursday afternoon to show support for the Standing Rock Sioux who protecting their homes, land, and sacred sites from being destroyed by the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.  During the demonstration outside of the William S. Moorhead Federal Building, hundreds of supporters, along with a 75’ mock pipeline, spilled into the Liberty Ave., blocking the major roadway during Pittsburgh’s busy rush hour.

The pipeline would carry 470,000 barrels of crude a day to Pakota, Illinois where it will link with other pipelines and be carried to refineries around the country. If built, the pipeline will be a cultural and environmental threat to the Standing Rock Sioux. The pipeline crosses the nation’s traditional hunting, fishing and burial territory as well as directly crossing under the Missouri River, the Sioux’s main source of water.

For months, the Standing Rock Sioux nation and hundreds of other tribes have worked to halt construction of the pipeline through protests and ongoing legal battles. Protesters have been met with violent responses from police, private security firms and North Dakota politicians who declared a State of Emergency to discredit the protest camps.

On Friday, September 9, the Army Corps of Engineers, Department of Justice and Department of the Interior jointly announced they would temporarily stop construction under a lake that serves as a critical source of drinking water for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and asked the pipeline company, Energy Transfer Partners, to voluntarily halt construction within 20-miles of the lake. However, construction continues in other sections of the project. During Thursday’s demonstration, supporters of the Standing Rock Sioux called on the Army Corps of Engineers to permanently halt construction of the pipeline.

Photo Credit: Ray Gerard

Three Rivers Rising Tide, which is helped to organize the Thursday rally, issued the following statement:

“We believe that the extraction of fossil fuels like Bakken oil, and the expansion of pipelines and other transportation infrastructure, is a dangerous threat to our communities, our wild places and the climate. We further believe that these practices gravely threaten the health, safety and traditional land rights of Indigenous communities.

“If we are determined to prevent the pursuit of extreme energy from destroying our communities, natural systems and climate, then peaceful, but confrontational, protests like the Red Warrior and Sacred Stone camps are necessary actions for change.”

“For over a decade, there has been an unprecedented show of unity from environmental and social justice communities for those fighting for justice and ecology and this time is no different. There is not an inch of daylight between us and those blocking construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota. We stand with them as we’ve stood with those fighting mountaintop removal coal mining in Appalachia, those that fought the Keystone XL Pipeline from Alberta to Texas, those challenging fighting fossil fuel extraction and infrastructure across this country and those that continue to fight for Indigenous rights.

Written by patrick