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  • A protester is detained by police in Bismarck during a protest against plans to pass the Dakota Access pipeline near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.

    A protester is detained by police in Bismarck during a protest against plans to pass the Dakota Access pipeline near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. | Photo: Reuters

"Native people are being hurt right now. There were people being maced and tasered again yesterday. These things are happening."

North Dakota police brutally assaulted a protester of the Dakota Access pipeline Thursday, as Bernie Sanders’ Native American advisor was zip-tied and kept in what she described as a dog kennel.

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Unicorn Riot, an educational nonprofit organization — which has been on the scene since April — tweeted a video of a protester roughed up Thursday in the state capital Bismarck with the caption, “Police beat water protector in zip ties until bleeding from head, dislocate arm, then place bag over head as cops continue beating.”

The day before, Tara Houska, national campaign director for Honor the Earth and former Sanders advisor, said on Democracy Now! that she was arrested for criminal trespass, handcuffed with zip ties, kept in a “large chainmail dog kennel” for over six hours, strip-searched, jailed and charged with a crime later that day.

“Native people are being hurt right now,” she said. “There were people being maced and tasered again yesterday. These things are happening.”

The protests in North Dakota have attracted thousands from around the world to stop the construction of a US$3.8 billion pipeline from contaminating drinking water and crossing sacred Indigenous burial and ceremonial sites.

Houska was pessimistic about the protest movement's ability to stop the pipeline being built under a Donald Trump administration, but noted that “the Dakota Access pipeline resistance is millions of people around the world coming together and trying to stop this single project, but also to make a stand about the relationship of people to fossil fuels, about Indigenous rights, about all these issues.”

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