A call for paid demonstrators at the Standing Rock protest campsite caught the eye of law enforcement and local North Dakota media outlets Wednesday.
A Craigslist ad posted early Wednesday morning asked for protesters who want to to be paid to meet at the West Acres Mall Friday and “shut it down.” The now deleted ad says the poster “cashed in” a 401k and “quit my job to fight for water.”
The post goes on to say the No Dakota Access Pipeline protests should expand to big cities like Fargo and Bismarck where a highway can be “shut down” and where “people will listen.”
The poster of the ad offers $1,000 to “anyone who proves they quit their job to protest full time” with the ad poster. Additionally the poster offers to cover travel and food expenses, and any adult who shows up on the first night will be given $50 in cash and $20 for each child brought with any protester to the demonstration.
“If you are BLM or anti Trump you will also get paid to join my protest,” the ad said, noting that they need bodies there. “Just tonight we shut down the Veterans bridge. Get involved people save mother earth.”
According to internal law enforcement documents obtained by The Daily Caller, the funding behind the protesters at Standing Rock comes from crowdfunding websites set up by different people who say they are affiliated with the various camps and sympathize with the Standing Rock Tribe.
“Both the Sacred Stone Camp and the Red Warrior Camp set up fundraising sites for general funds, legal funds, as well as Amazon Wish Lists for items needed to help the camps prepare for the winter. The Sacred Stone Camp’s general fund has raised more than $750,000 while the Red Warrior Camp’s general fund has raised nearly $50,000,” the document states in its executive summary.
Additionally, support groups including Winterize Water Protectors Camp and Stand for Standing Rock established fundraising pages to aid the protesters. Winterize Water Protectors Camp has raised almost $6,000, the documents say.
Stand for Standing Rock raised over $50,000 and posts reports on its website to show how the money is spent.
“Money raised from internet fundraising sites, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has received money from other tribes. The tribes that have donated money or supplies include the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla, Cherokee Nation, Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde,” the document states.
“Eastern Band of Cherokee, and Snoqualmie Indians. Each of these tribes operate at least one casino. Non-profit groups active in the fight against Keystone XL and other pipeline projects have directed their followers to donate to the various online fundraisers.”
Morton County Commission Chairman Cody Schulz criticized the federal government for turning its back on county residents affected by the protests saying in a statement:
“The scope of the federal government’s inaction is breathtaking. They have not only furthered the uncertainty of the situation and prolonged the outcome, but have at the same time refused law enforcement resources requested by the County and State to deal with a situation that is to a very large degree a federal issue,” said Schulz. “I find it more than a little hypocritical that the USACE and DOJ can stand up in a federal court and argue that all laws, regulations, rules, and policies were followed in their permitting of the project, and after a federal court agrees with them they backtrack and delay the final easement for more study.”
The protesters in North Dakota have been demonstrating against the oil pipeline since August. The protests have become increasingly violent and Schulz also responded to the US Army Corp of Engineers announcement to further delay a decision on granting or denying the easement needed for the Dakota Access Pipeline to finish drilling under Lake Oahe.
“I have stated before that further delay puts peoples’ safety, health and life on the line. While the violent faction within the protest group is a minority, it is a real threat to law enforcement. The things law enforcement have endured include being shot at, having Molotov cocktails, rocks, sticks, bottles, cans, and feces thrown at them, having buffalo stampeded at them, being spit on, and being verbally assaulted,” Schulz said, while also expressing concern for those in the protest camps staying safe in in winter conditions. “North Dakota winters are hard, and further delay by the federal government also prolongs people living in tents and teepees in harsh conditions. Our goal is to keep everyone safe, including protesters, and the federal government just continues to make that more difficult.”