Organized by local gallery owner Loren Naji, Cleveland's demonstration Saturday was among a number of actions nationwide designed to support and raise awareness about the controversy in North Dakota, where thousands of Native Americans and environmental activists have been encamped to stand against the $3.7 billion Dakota Access Pipeline. The pipeline, opponents say, could devastate the reservation's water supply in the event of a spill and violates protected tribal sites and burial grounds.
Moreover, the pipeline was originally designed to run north of Bismarck, the state's capital and second-largest city. That route was nixed by the local population (virtually all white) because of similar fears about their water.
"Indigenous lands across the country are the sites of nuclear waste dumping, toxic mining operations, oil and gas drilling and a long list of other harmful environmental practices, but see very little benefit from these projects," wrote Ladonna Bravebull Allard, the founder of Standing Rock's Sacred Stone Camp, in The Guardian Wednesday
. "We live in the sacrifice zones."
Ohio, for its part, has sent 37 state troopers to assist the security forces there, to the outrage of many locals and elected leaders, including the majority of Cincinnati's city council, who issued a letter
to Governor John Kasich last week urging him to bring the troopers back.
The Cleveland march convened at the W. 25th Street Rapid Station and planned to culminate at Public Square. A solemn drumbeat and sunny skies accompanied the march. More than once, passing cars beeped in support.
A group of about 30 demonstrators, holding signs and talking quietly among themselves, processed east across the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge Saturday afternoon, marching in solidarity with the Water Protectors at North Dakota's Standing Rock Reservation.