Demonstrators in Grand Rapids are joining the protest against a pipeline from North Dakota to the Midwest.
Friday a federal judge refused to issue an injunction stopping the 1,100 mile Dakota Access pipeline. And shortly afterward a crowd of sign carrying protestors assembled along Fulton Street in Grand Rapids.
“We are here to bring community awareness to the Standing Rock situation,” explained Kyle Freund.
Investors are building the pipeline near land owned by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe of Native Americans. Tribal leaders say the project disturbs burial ground and other cultural areas they hold sacred.
The federal judge who denied the injunction said he thinks construction is far enough away from the Sioux cultural sites.
After the ruling the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, who earlier issued a permit, ordered a halt to pipeline work near Lake Oahe in North Dakota while they investigate complaints from the Sioux Tribe. They are also asking the pipeline investors to voluntarily stop construction elsewhere until the government review is finished.
Protestors in Grand Rapids and around the country say they want the pause made permanent.
“We need to awaken the American people that our own citizen’s rights are being violated,” says Freund. There are more Native American treaties being violated now than ever before and it seems that the American spirit needs to be awakened to this cause.”