Days after police came under fire for using a water cannon against Dakota Access Pipeline protestors in freezing temperatures, US officials are offering free, warm blankets to the protestors.
The protest group, who refer to themselves as “water protectors”, is largely populated with Standing Rock Sioux and other sympathetic Native American and aboriginal tribes people. The path of the pipeline and ownership of the land through which the pipeline run are heavily disputed. Protests have been long tenured, with violence and clashes between protestors and police groups increasing in frequency and violence in recent months.
Police and US officials came under heavy fire for the use of water cannons in recent weeks.The water cannons were employed to push back protest lines, including during sub-freezing temperatures. Officials decided to offer blankets to the protestors as a form of apology.
“These protests, they’re going to run, and this pipeline, it’s going to run, too. We’re in for a log haul.” said local deputy Cleon Marshall. “We understand their anguish, and we don’t want them freezing to death out here.”
“There are a few reports of people developing a little cough and a rash based around use of the blankets, but that’s probably to be expected considering the factory materials, rayon and other types of fabric these particular people are not acclimated with,” reported Deputy Marshall.
A representative from the Standing Rock Sioux told reporters that the gesture was much appreciated as “a bridge to restoring faith between the Sioux people and their invaders.”