All Images: Erik Franco

Voices From New York City's Dakota Access Pipeline Protests

Hundreds gathered outside New York County Supreme Court to protest construction of the contentious oil pipeline.

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Nov 16 2016, 3:30pm

All Images: Erik Franco

Hundreds of demonstrators in New York City gathered Tuesday evening in Lower Manhattan's Foley Square to protest the contentious and recently delayed Dakota Access Pipeline, a $3.7 billion oil pipeline that is planned to run from North Dakota to Illinois, weaving through four states and beneath protected Native American land.

Tuesday's protest, just across the street from New York County Supreme Court, was one of more than 200 demonstrations planned in cities throughout the US, a "Day of Action" spurred by indigenous leaders and set to be the largest collective opposition to the pipeline since protests began last spring at Standing Rock.

On Monday, the US Army Corps of Engineers announced it would temporarily halt construction of the pipeline to review its impact, a decision that presents a possibility that the fate of the pipeline could fall on President-elect Trump's eventual administration.

Yadira (left), 38

Yadira

All Images: Erik Franco

MOTHERBOARD: What brought you to today's protest?
I'm here because I'm standing with Standing Rock. For the water. We are indigenous people; we are dancers. I'm going to dance today on the stage to pray to the creator that this pipeline doesn't happen.

What's your biggest concern about the Dakota Access Pipeline?
Dakota. It is a sacred place.

What effect do you think a Trump administration will have?
Yeah, I don't like it.

Ryan Conarro (right), 36, theatermaker and arts educator

Ryan Conarro

What brought you to today's protest?
I'm standing here in solidarity with the people at Standing Rock, protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline, and also in support of ending environmental racism.

What's your biggest concern about the Dakota Access Pipeline?
I think the concerns about ownership and culture are totally bound up. The possibility of this pipeline is going to trample on sacred ground. Other initiatives like it are serving corporate interests and short-range thinking.

What effect do you think a Trump administration will have?
I'm extremely concerned about what's going to happen with this project and others like it, and that's an understatement. I can't predict, and that makes me very concerned.

What's your reaction to Monday's US Army Corps news?
It offers a possibility of something positive happening in the future. It seems like this might mean a bit of listening on the part of that organization and the government and the entities that are pushing this through. It's not actually movement. It's just a pause. So, I think we still need to be here today standing in solidarity.

Marty Goodman, 67, retired transit worker

Marty Goodman

What brought you to today's protest?
I'm here with Labor for Standing Rock, and I'm also a member of Socialist Action. I live here in New York and went to Standing Rock a couple weeks ago. I had an incredible experience there; they're a wonderful fighting people and they're fighting corporate greed.

What's your biggest concern about the Dakota Access Pipeline?
None of the politicians have stepped up to stop the gas pipelines on sacred ground out there in North Dakota. This is sacred ground to the Sioux people—actually all that territory out there is owned by the Sioux people, according to the Treaty of 1851, and corporations keep trying to grab the land.

Obama doesn't want to stop it, [Hillary] Clinton refused to commit herself to anything, so it's up to us in the streets to stop it.

What effect do you think a Trump administration will have?
Well, I'm not as concerned about that as I am the fate of the climate, you know. Trump is a climate-denier, he's an idiot. But on the other hand, you have Obama, who poses as a climate president but has done virtually nothing for the climate and will not stand up and stop these gas pipelines on Sioux land.

So, I'm not terribly concerned about [Trump]. I want to see people in the streets fighting for justice and that's where I place my hope. I'm very optimistic. People couldn't stand the candidates, millions and millions stayed home because they're disgusted with these politicians—they're capitalist politicians, not labor politicians. The score will be settled in the streets, ultimately.

What's your reaction to Monday's US Army Corps news?
Obama can step in in a minute. Laws have been violated. Consultation laws with Sioux people have been violated. There's been no thorough climate impact study. Obama could shut it down at the snap of a finger.

Jerry Hassett, 71, retired veteran

Jerry Hassett

What brought you to today's protest?
I'm with New York Vets for Peace, Chapter 34. I'm here to help the Native Americans out. We broke 350 treaties with these people, all the tribes all over the country. It's inhumane, and it's disgraceful to us, as a nation.

What's your biggest concern about the Dakota Access Pipeline?
Environmental first, and then what we're doing to these people. We've torn up their sacred land where their ancestors are buried. It's a horror show.

What effect do you think a Trump administration will have?
Oh with him, we just have to wait. It can't get worse than what we think it's gonna be. We have to wait and see. I suggest everybody's got to just stay in the streets. Everybody has got to continue. You can't let up on this. You have to be on the streets constantly so he gets the message.

What's your reaction to Monday's US Army Corps news?
What review, they already reviewed it a couple of weeks ago and Obama says he's going to speak to it in a couple of weeks. He should be doing it right now: just say, "Change it."

Arun Agurar

Arun Agurar

What's your biggest concern about the Dakota Access Pipeline?
My original concern would have been environmental, but it's not the only environmental issue. There are pipelines running through New York State, there are pipelines running close to New York City. So, I think for me, what motivates me more is the issue pertaining to the civil rights of the Native American people. I am particularly inspired that they themselves have taken a stand.

What effect do you think a Trump administration will have?
Trump has openly proclaimed his skepticism about global warming, about climate change. He's not been known to be a champion of minority interests. So, he'll ram it through. He'll look at it in terms of jobs.

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DAPL protest in NYC

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