ABC News is reporting that authorities in North Dakota “plan to pursue charges” of vandalism and trespassing against Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein for allegedly spray painting construction equipment at the Dakota Access Pipeline protests.
Stein tweeted that she might face charges and questioned why others were not:
On Facebook, she wrote, “The state of North Dakota may charge me with vandalism for painting a bulldozer. Will they charge the oil company that bulldozed the sacred burial grounds of the Standing Rock Sioux?”
ABC quoted Stein’s spokeswoman as saying Stein spray painted “I approve this message” in red on a bulldozer blade when she visited the protest site on September 6. A video on YouTube shows Stein spray painting in red (see above). Stein also shared that video on Twitter and Facebook. The company whose subsidiary is building the pipeline, Energy Transfer Partners, declined comment on the Stein matter.
KXMB in Bismarck, North Dakota, quoted the Sheriff, Kyle Kirchmeier, as saying Stein may face charges:
The tribe has accused the company of bulldozing sacred sites, including some with human remains. “Sacred places containing ancient burial sites, places of prayer and other significant cultural artifacts of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe were destroyed Saturday by Energy Transfer Partners,” Tribal Chairman David Archambault II said in a press release.
InForum described the scene on Facebook, “More than 100 protesters gathered at a Dakota Access Pipeline construction site Tuesday where two people bound themselves to bulldozers and Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein was meeting with pipeline opponents.”
The protests – which have led to the largest gathering of Native Americans in 100 years, BBC says – have sparked dramatic clashes in recent days between protesters and private security guards. Both sides claimed injuries on September 3 (before Stein’s arrival), with protesters saying they were pepper sprayed and bitten by dogs used by the security guards for the company building the pipeline, and the Sheriff saying that protesters had knives and hatchets and that guards and dogs were injured.
Stein has tweeted multiple times in support of the Native American protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline:
Around the time news broke of the possible charges, she shared a quote from Sitting Bull on social media:
She also shared a photo with American Indian Movement activist Dennis Banks:
The protest against the four-state $3.8 billion oil pipeline has lasted for months but has increased in intensity, as the size of an encampment grows on the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota. The pipeline would run from North Dakota to Illinois. See project maps here.
Learn more about the Dakota Access Pipeline controversy here: