MORTON COUNTY, N.D. (KMSP) - Nearly 2,000 veterans are planning to serve as “human shields” next week at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota for protesters of the four-state, $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline, The New York Times reported.
The effort, called Veterans Stand for Standing Rock, is intended to be a nonviolent intervention to defend the protesters from the police, who demonstrators have had several clashes with in recent months, according to The New York Times.
The veterans will reportedly be at the encampment starting on Dec. 4, according to the Facebook group.
In the Facebook group, organizers say they have exceeded the 2,000 capacity covered by available accommodation and supplies. The volunteers are told to bring body armor, gas masks, earplugs and shooting mufflers – but no weapons.
“We are doing this to support our county, so let’s do it with honor, working together,” the page description reads. “We can stop this save savage injustice being committed right here at home.”
Last week, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said all federal lands north of the Cannonball River will be closed to public access on Dec. 5, citing the oncoming winter and safety concerns over the recent clashes between protestors and police. The protesters’ encampment is situated within the area that will be closed.
The Corps says it will not “forcibly” remove protesters, but anyone on the land north of the river after the December deadline will be considered trespassing and may be prosecuted, the Associated Press reported.