I’d been photographing in North Dakota when I stopped in the small town of Mandan at a little diner. I’d driven through a town where the Dakota Access Pipeline had been in the news due to Native Americans protecting their ancestral lands, but all was quiet. However, in that little diner I saw a gathering of people at one table that didn’t seem to be local. After a time it became clear that they were journalists. One of them, who was intriguingly dressed as a homeless woman I thought, turned out to be Amy Goodman from Democracy now. I heard her explaining on the phone that she’d be at the courthouse that day as a case was being heard against her for trespassing. She’d been arrested while covering the protests along with several others.
I was present as an interested observer, neither protesting, nor advocating, on behalf of anyone. I simply wanted to see for myself what was going on. If you’d like to know more, I can certainly refer you to Democracy Now, although I sense they had their own agenda in their coverage of the event. I did leave with some concerns about the state of freedom in our republic. The story continues to unfold…
Wow! These are great! I’ve been following the story from the beginning on Democracy Now. Pretty cool that you just happened to run across seeing Amy in the diner!
It really was. I sensed the group at the table in the center of the restaurant was different from the normal small town local diner, but I couldn’t quite put a finger on how they were different. After a bit, seeing a couple of small cameras, hearing a bit of the story I clued in. And then when I heard Amy on the phone, I knew I was onto something.
Reblogged this on O LADO ESCURO DA LUA.
Thank you. Somehow reading and seeing this from other than the accredited press makes it seem — I’m not sure how to word this — more about real people trying to have an effect on their world.
Thanks Chris, for me it was also about journalists seeming to try to have an effect on the world as well. When journalists get arrested for covering a protest, our freedom ebbs.
Great coverage, Russ. Your photos convey the tension quite well. It makes me nervous to see so much firepower in the presence of peaceful, unarmed protestors.
I don’t know the whole story, but there were far more police than seemed reasonable. I’m not even sure how the municipality can afford so much police action. It just seems like the native Americans were treated harshly enough in the past, if they don’t want the pipeline going across sacred land, then let’s reroute the darn thing.
Excellent photojournal of the event Russ. It is crazy how much we have to protect our planet these days. I’m so glad that people care enough to get out there and speak up and use their voices. That is what a democracy is all about. It is scary to see all the armed polices
I truly couldn’t understand so many of them. And they forced everyone to stay in one really small area and off the street. They said people stepped into the road to “try and bait them.” I can tell you it was anything but. The police definitely seemed to be baiting them by being ridiculously strict on where they could stand. I didn’t like it at all.
Scary Russ. It reminds me of many authoritarian countries I’ve been to. I wonder if this happens more often then we know or if it happened here because it is a small town where the police felt more like they could get away with it. I hope there is more media coverage on this. Very scary. I would be out there protesting myself!
From recent articles, it’s apparent that word is starting to get out and the police are standing down, at the moment anyway. It’s all a very unfortunate situation.
Yes there have been protests here in Minneapolis! So yes the word is getting out. That is good.
It is good indeed. Apparently there is supposed to be a peaceful gathering in Bismarck the week of Thanksgiving.
So shady when groups like that get involved…their motives always interestingly go back to someone else making billions of dollars LOL! Actually not funny. But, one very important correction on your post bro. That is Leonoardo Dicaprio, not Brad Pitt! 🙂 You are phenomenal Russ, we love your blog! -Chris
Thanks Chris, good to hear from you. Maybe, maybe.
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