WILMINGTON — The Dakota Access Pipeline protests, which began earlier this year, were joined on Tuesday in what organizers called an act of solidarity.
“This is not a protest,” organizer Roxanne Kirtright said. “It’s a show of solidarity. We’re just trying to show the people at Standing Rock that they’re not alone, and to shine a spotlight on the issue.”
The event — Eastern NC Stands with Standing Rock — was part of an international effort to raise awareness about the pipeline project by staging rallies in front of Army Corps of Engineers offices across the globe. The Army Corps of Engineering is currently reviewing plans, along with the EPA and the United States Department of the Interior, to build a pipeline extension beneath a stretch of the Missouri River, half of a mile north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.
Both the EPA and several Native American tribal groups have expressed concerns that the pipeline location puts the reservation at risk for leaks and spills.
Kirtright said she created the Facebook event after learning about the international day from The Action Network, who provided an interactive map of locations and times. The event drew about 50 people, although some learned of the rally from other social media outlets.
Jlynn Justad said, “I actually learned about the event from Shailene Woodley’s Instagram site. She’s been really involved in the pipeline issue, so that’s part of why I’m following her.”
Woodley, an actress best known from the film adaptations of Veronica Roth’s “Divergent” series, was arrested in early October while protesting the pipeline in North Dakota. Woodley’s claims of unnecessarily harsh treatment by the Morton County Sheriff’s Deparment – including a strip search – have been part of growing concern over the use of force by law enforcement against protesters.
Kirtright lead the rally from the Army Corps of Engineers offices to Market Street where drives slowed down to watch, some of them shouting and honking encouragement.
“Old Port City really comes through sometimes,” Kirtright said.
Below: video of the event.