Protesters marching against the completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline near Mandan, North Dakota, took to the city streets near Burger King on Thanksgiving Day.
The action, just days after police sprayed protesters with a fire hose and less-than lethal rounds, included clear messages against police, some of the first since the protests started. Previously, messages and symbols like “Black Snake Killah,” were primarily targeted at oilers Energy Transfer Partners.
Protesters set out a Thanksgiving table on the street and invited police to sit with them and eat. They did not, and instead surrounded them in riot gear and arrested two protesters.
Protesters left behind trash, including a severed pig head, to show their disdain for law enforcement Thursday after police asked them to leave.
“There was a large group of protesters who gathered in Mandan and illegally blocked the roadway,” said Tom Iverson of North Dakota State Highway Patrol. “They were advised to leave.”
The protesters did leave peacefully.
Weeks ago, the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe of South Dakota also sent a clear message to law enforcement by ending a partnership with local police.
Some were quick to draw symbolism between the response of law enforcement Thursday and the history of Thanksgiving. They said the response of police, who are predominantly white, was inappropriate after Natives broke bread with pilgrims who invaded their land on the first Thanksgiving.
“A group of protesters, of which many are not Native American were asked to quit breaking the law and stop blocking the roadway in Mandan,” Iverson said. “Your idea of symbolism is so far off base and a complete insult.”