Jill Stein, Green Party candidate for President, will return to North Dakota to face charges associated with her protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline at the Standing Rock Reservation. CNBC reports that authorities in North Dakota issued warrants for the arrest of Stein and her Green Party running mate, Ajamu Baraka, on Wednesday. The pair is charged with misdemeanor counts of criminal trespass and criminal mischief.
During an anti- Dakota Access Pipeline demonstration on September 6, Stein spray-painted the words “I approve this message” on a bulldozer used in pipeline construction, as can be seen in the video at the end of this article. According to The Omaha World-Herald, Stein defended her North Dakota actions the next day at a campaign stop at Metropolitan Community College in Nebraska.
“I felt like it was the least I could do in front of these Indian leaders, as they were putting their lives and their bodies on the line… what they are doing there is not just rescuing our water supply, our climate and our planet, they’re also lifting up this incredible vision of community and forgiveness.”
The statement reportedly drew a standing ovation from the approximately 250 people present in the audience.
Jill Stein has made no secret of her opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline, which would run from the Bakken Reserve oil fields in North Dakota to Illinois. Stein and the Green Party stand in opposition to the continued use of fossil fuels like oil and have called for the United States to wean itself from the use of such fuels.
“We should be dismantling our pipelines, not building new ones,” Stein has said.
The Dakota Access Pipeline, estimated to cost some $3.8 billion, would run through four states and the Standing Rock Reservation, which has become an epicenter for protest. Hundreds have gathered there over the past several weeks. Tribal leaders have said that the pipeline would pose a threat to their water supply and would be dangerous to the environment, as well as damaging numerous sites held as sacred to the Native American community, including burial grounds. Jill Stein has openly supported the anti-pipeline position and the Standing Rock Protests in speeches and on social media.
— Dr. Jill Stein (@DrJillStein) September 9, 2016
In a statement to the Chicago Tribune,Stein downplayed the incident, contrasting it with possible legal difficulties that have been discussed regarding her major party opponents, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
“You know, Hillary and Donald could both get indicted for something much bigger than participating in a protest to protect the water supply. They could get indicted for something very big or they could be exposed for something which is not illegal but very problematic, which is actually already occurring plenty.”
Jill Stein is no stranger to being charged and arrested in relation to political protest. Long before the North Dakota incident and the Dakota Access Pipeline, Stein was arrested attempting to enter the 2012 Presidential debates in protest of being barred from participation, as reported by Democracy Now! Stein was held “shackled to a chair” for several hours. In another 2012 incident, the Nation reported that Stein was arrested in Philadelphia with other Green Party members protesting outside the offices of Fannie Mae, a firm which was heavily involved in the American foreclosure crisis.
Stein has issued a statement saying that she and her lawyers are working with North Dakota officials to find a trial date, and that she will return to North Dakota to answer the charges, which she does not deny. You can watch the video of Jill Stein spray-painting the bulldozer below.
[Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images]