Standing Rock: Cops Dig In, Medics Speak Out After Bloody Sunday

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Two days after bloody clashes between police and the activists trying to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline, authorities have erected new concrete barricades and military-style walls on and around the bridge that was the site of Sunday's violence. That bridge, a half-mile from the Oceti Sakowin encampment, now features double concrete barriers and 8-foot high Hesco walls (the same as those built to protect Baghdad's Green Zone in Iraq).

As a crane completed construction on the new roadblock, the Medic Workers from the Oceti Sakowin camp held a press conference within view on Highway 1806. They detailed the life-threatening wound suffered by demonstrator and New York City native Sofia Wilansky, 21, who was struck in the forearm by a flash grenade on Sunday night while distributing water to wounded Water Protectors (their preferred designation), and is currently in a Minneapolis hospital where doctors are fighting to try and save her right arm (contrary to earlier reports that her arm had already been amputated).

Following their statement, the Medic team read a letter by Wilansky's father that condemned the tactics of the police, which included the repeated use of high caliber less than lethal weapons and water cannon blasts in freezing weather. Medics also read a statement from Wilansky herself, written with the help of her father.

The highway barrier being constructed behind the press conference not only prevents the nearby Water Protectors" from accessing the drill site, it adds 45 minutes to the trip to the nearest trauma center in Bismarck to the north. This has serious public health consequences for a rural community like the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, and has served to further inflame public opinion against the authorities and the company building the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Last night, in a Facebook Live video Wilansky's father gave one of his first public interviews and highlighted the public health crisis being instigated by the Morton County Sheriff, backed up by private DAPL mercenaries and the North Dakota National Guard.

"There was a truck on the bridge and the police intentionally left that truck on the bridge so ambulances couldn't get back and forth and people can't drive and get in and out of the area. So not only are people getting intentionally hurt but they can't get the kind of medical service they need in a timely fashion. And part of Sophia's prognosis is harmed by the fact that it took six to eight hours for her to actually have the surgery when time was of the essence and where they usually like to have this done within a couple hours."

Alexander Zaitchik contributed to this report

Peter James Callahan is an independent journalist and broadcaster. He is the former Communications Director for Democracy Spring and has worked as a multimedia producer for The Huffington Post's Politics Vertical. He is also a co-founder of Newton Media Group, which houses stalwart progressive broadcast platforms the We Act Radio Network, NMG Livestream and The Zero Hour with RJ Eskow. An avid outdoorsman, Peter is based in Washington, DC but spends as much time as he possibly can lost somewhere in the Adirondack Mountains in Upstate NY. You can find him on Twitter @PJC_dc.

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