Thursday afternoon, Morton County, North Dakota officials announced, roughly 24 hours after yesterday’s 2. p.m. Central Time deadline, that “the main Dakota Access Pipeline protest camp is now officially closed.” Press coverage of the camp’s imminent and now final closure has been and I suspect will continue to be light, as the holdouts’ conduct has been injurious and disgraceful. In the final days, “protesters” who claim to be environmentalists exposed themselves as nothing more than pretentious, ruthless arsonists.
The Associated Press kept a running timeline of the situation on Wednesday (saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes).
Here are some of the many lowlights:
Dakota Access pipeline protesters are ceremonially burning some of their living structures ahead of the closure of a longstanding camp in North Dakota.
About 200 to 300 protesters remain at the camp near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation. The Army Corps of Engineers has ordered the camp closed at 2 p.m. Wednesday, citing the potential for spring flooding.
Those left in camp milled about peacefully Wednesday, many in prayer. At least four wooden structures were being burned in what protesters say is part of the ceremony of leaving.
… 9:50 a.m.
Cleanup efforts at the Dakota Access pipeline protest camp are on hold after negotiations broke down between authorities and camp leaders.
… 1 p.m.
About 150 protesters are marching arm-in-arm out of the Dakota Access pipeline protest camp while singing and playing drums.
They leave behind the smoldering remains of structures that were burned as part of a ceremony.
… 2:15 p.m. (shortly after the 2 p.m. departure deadline had passed — Ed.)
Some of the remaining protesters at the Dakota Access oil pipeline camp have set fire to a building that was serving as the main entrance to the area.
North Dakota Indian Affairs Director Scott Davis says protesters also have strung barbwire across the opening to the encampment.
… 6 p.m.
Authorities in North Dakota say Dakota Access pipeline protesters set about 20 fires on the day their longstanding camp was scheduled for closure.
They say at least two explosions resulted. A 7-year-old boy and a 17-year-old girl were taken by ambulance to a Bismarck hospital to be treated for burns. (How is having children in these encampments in the first place not a form of child abuse? — Ed.)
What is the “ceremonial” aspect of torching the camp? Fox News’s West Dakota TV affiliate gave it an undefined spiritual aspect:
Protesters burned structures all day, calling it a sacred ceremony.
What’s so “sacred” about all of this? Phyllis Young, recognized by AP in unexcerpted text as a “protest leader,” was completely incoherent in trying to explain things at her Facebook page:
Tipis were ceremoniously burned at Standing Rock today. “We burn our loved ones’ belongings when they transition,” said one of the women of Standing Rock. “We’ve held our connection the best we could, for as long as we could, in the only ways we know how for our grandmother.”
I would say “nice try” to Ms. Young, but if that’s the best she can do, it’s not even that.
The “protesters” were obstructionist to the end. The indiscriminate fires (which burned whatever Young means by “loved ones’ belongings” and everything else in their path), and the construction of the barbwire across the encampment’s opening — performed mostly if not entirely by people who haven’t lifted a finger to help with the environmental cleanup emergency their filth and trash have created — weren’t about “sacred ceremony.” The burning of the “wooden structures” having no relationship to ancestral presence in the 1 p.m. timeline segment above proves it.
So here we have people who claim to be dedicated to the environment creating an appalling conflagration, accompanied by explosions, personal injuries to children, and who knows what kinds of hazardous substances released into the atmosphere, given the filthy nature of what was burned (click on each photo for a larger view):
Then of course there’s the convenient fact that torching the place destroys any evidence that might point to how these folks were supported or any kind of criminal activity.
The very safe prediction here is that the press, particularly broadcast news, will not give the final days of the “protest” much coverage. A person who regularly watches the early portions of the Today Show told me she saw no related coverage. Although I can’t rule out that it might have been briefly mentioned during breaking news headlines on the air, I see absolutely no evidence that the show has recognized the “protest” shutdown on its very busy home page.
It’s likely that if the actions of the bitter-enders were exposed, the large, unearned well of sympathy on which these perpetrators of violence masquerading as “protesters” are relying would, like their encampment, go up in smoke. The establishment press will mostly not take that chance.
The AP appears to be doing its part. Its Thursday timeline about the arrests of the final bitter-enders and the official announcement that the area has been cleared doesn’t mention yesterday’s fires at all.
Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.