Countries

‘Shocking’: North Dakota Republicans Want To Legalize Running Over Protesters

"It's shocking to see legislation that allows for people to literally be killed for exercising their right to protest in a public space," said Indigenous water protector and attorney Tara Houska/Photo: Morton County
‘Shocking’: North Dakota Republicans Want To Legalize Running Over Protesters

Running over protesters may soon be legal in North Dakota, if conservative lawmakers are successful in advancing legislation introduced last week.

House Bill Number 1203 states that, “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a driver of a motor vehicle who unintentionally causes injury or death to an individual obstructing vehicular traffic on a public road, street, or highway, is not guilty of an offense.”

The bill is slated to be heard by the North Dakota’s House Transportation Committee on Friday.

Rep. Keith Kempenich (R-Bowman), one of the bill’s co-sponsors, told the Bismarck Tribuneon Wednesday, “[The roads are] not there for the protesters. They’re intentionally putting themselves in danger.”

“It’s shifting the burden of proof from the motor vehicle driver to the pedestrian,” Kempenich said.

Tara Houska, an Indigenous water protector and attorney who has resided at the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) resistance camps since August, told NBC News that the bill was “a direct violation of our First Amendment rights.”

“It’s shocking to see legislation that allows for people to literally be killed for exercising their right to protest in a public space,” said Houska, who also serves as the national campaigns director for Honor the Earth, an Indigenous-focused environmental nonprofit.

Water protectors at times blocked roads leading to DAPL construction sites as part of the resistance to the pipeline. Blocking traffic is also an occasional tactic of various environmental and human rights movements.

Houska also criticized another bill in the legislative lineup that would require North Dakota’s attorney general to sue the federal government to recoup some of the cost of policing the months-long DAPL protests.

“These [bills] are meant to criminalize the protests with no real concern for constitutional law,” she said.

Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Dave Archambault II added, “The state claims they want to work closely with the tribe on repairing our relationship with them. Clearly that is not happening when legislation that impacts us is being drafted without consultation, consent, or even basic communication.”

Allison Renville, an activist from the Lakota nation, saw the bills as an insult to sovereign Native American communities, and expressed concern about the recent naming of Republican Sen. John Hoeven, a supporter of the DAPL pipeline and fossil fuel industry, as chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs.

“This is a really scary time for Indian Country,” Renville told NBC News. “To have such an avid supporter of the oil industry who has consistently stated his support for extractive industry projects on Native lands named to the position as chairman is akin to stepping on our sovereignty.”

Source/Common Dreams
CF/IC

Click to add a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in Countries

San Juan Mayor: ‘Disaster-In-Chief’ Trump Was ‘Disrespectful’ to Puerto Rico

December 29, 2017

Flagrant Violation in Trial of Ecuador’s Vice President, Defense Attorney Says

December 29, 2017

MI5 Plotted Assassination of Irish PM in 1985 – Paramilitary Group

December 29, 2017

Venezuela’s Cryptocurrency Set to Avoid Financial Attacks

December 29, 2017

China Offers Tax Break to Keep Investors after US Overhaul

December 29, 2017

Israeli Jets, Tanks Launch Fresh Attacks Against Gaza Strip

December 29, 2017

Cuban Revolution Persists Despite Hostility of U.S. Government

December 29, 2017

Corbyn Accuses Tory Brexiteers Of Wanting To Drive UK Off A Cliff

December 29, 2017

Brazil Elections: Intellectuals, Artists Back Lula Candidacy

December 29, 2017
You Can Advertise Here
"The other side of the news!"
Copyright © 2015 Carib Flame. Follow us on Twitter @caribflame