Harassment of Water Protectors Increases in Louisiana


The following report from people on the ground in Louisiana fighting the Bayou Bridge pipeline outlines ongoing acts of repression and violence directed against the L’eau Est La Vie camp from the State and Energy Transfer Partners.

Things have been heating up recently at L’eau Est La Vie (Water is Life), the camp in so called southwest Louisiana that has been a base for direct resistance to the Bayou Bridge Pipeline—the terminal end of the same pipeline running through Standing Rock.

Including the opening water ceremony on February 17th which stopped work for roughly two hours, water protectors have halted pipeline construction at least thirty-one times. Energy Transfer Partners, the shitbag corporation building the pipeline, claims they lose $160,000 each day that work is stopped. The state, the oil industry, and their lackeys have taken out their frustration through personal harassment tactics of the camp’s small and dedicated crew.

On May Day water protectors stopped work at two different sites, leaving the properties after receiving dispersal orders. Hours later, their vehicles were blocked into a restaurant by a state trooper and a local sheriff. The cops attempted to ID everyone, which the group resisted. After being sure to detain and ID all the people of color present, the pigs finally left.

On Wednesday, May 2nd, everyone involved in stopping work on a pipeline construction site was cited with trespassing, an escalation by the police. These work stoppages, in which comrades walk onto Energy Transfer Partners’ (ETP) easement, have been happening for months, with police typically responding by asking water protectors to leave after contacting the landowner through whose property the pipeline runs. In this case, they prevented the water protectors from leaving, inadvertently blockading many work trucks in the process.

A local reporter and bootlicker published the names and addresses off the IDs of those cited. Fortunately, the addresses were taken down shortly thereafter when a plucky supporter called the executive publisher, an ex-state trooper, and her sister to inform them that anyone can publish addresses online.

Meanwhile, direct harassment of camp has continued. A Department of Homeland Security helicopter regularly buzzes camp or hovers overhead. At night, vehicles with non-Louisiana plates slow-roll the camp, sometimes shining spotlights and infrared scopes. Camp property has been vandalized multiple times.

More alarming and enraging still, the camp cat, Puddles, was mysteriously poisoned on the 28th of April and died early in the morning of Sunday, April 29.

It should come as no surprise that those willing to poison the water to facilitate the flow of fossil fuels through one of the most polluted parts of the country would show no regard for the life of an animal, human or non-human. The malicious torture of animals is a classic sign of psychopathy; so is being a capitalist, cop, or pathetic henchman for ETP.

On Friday, May 11th, a water protector was pulled over and blocked in by an unmarked vehicle as she was driving on a rural road. The two men who got out were armed, not in uniform, and refused to identify themselves. The vehicle had a temporary paper license plate and their flashing light was a dash light. They did not give a reason for pulling her over or ask for any identification or vehicle registration. This unmarked vehicle had been seen around camp before, and it appears clear that these men waited until a person of color was driving alone and seized the opportunity for intimidation. Thankfully, the water protector was able to return safely to camp after this interaction. However, this is not the first time that unidentified men have attempted to intimidate folks from camp, and it will likely not be the last.

The people holding it down at L’eau Est La Vie are committed, strong, and brave, and in the face of repression, they are in high spirits. It’s important to remember that repression should come as no surprise; we should expect, prepare for, and work to alleviate and overcome it.

Bayou Bridge resistance efforts could use our active solidarity in this struggle, from wherever we find ourselves and however we can contribute. They are actively welcoming new direct participation on the ground in Louisiana: if you are interested, you can fill out an application here. If you know people at the camp, you can also contact them directly.

Energy Transfer Partners, Shell, and other companies involved have operations all over the country. So does the state. Most areas of the US have oil and gas projects somewhere nearby that directly threaten the ecosystem and local residents. We all exist under the menace of climate change. A list of players involved in the construction of the pipeline is available at nobayoubridge.global.

The crisis is global. Capital is networked. We can be too, and the more we connect our lives and our struggles, the stronger we will all be for it.

Solidarity with L’eau Est La Vie. Solidarity with Diné elders resisting forced relocation. Solidarity with La ZAD, pipeline resistance across Turtle Island, and rebels and land defenders everywhere.

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