Around two dozen environmental activists gathered in front of the US Embassy in Yerevan on Thursday carrying placards reading “People over Oil” and “Water Is Life” to show solidarity with North Dakota’s Standing Rock Sioux tribe that has been fighting against the construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline (DAPL) on its reservation for months.
The pipeline protesters – members of various Native American tribes and other activists – argue that the DAPL construction would, among other things, endanger the source of fresh water for as many as 8 million people and sacred tribal sites.
“Armenia also faces similar problems, so we realize the importance of international solidarity. We have handed over a letter to US ambassador Richard Mills, raising also the issue of racism since the pipeline project runs through the territories of Native American reservation and avoids the areas populated mainly by white people,” demonstrator Arpine Galfayan told an Epress.am reporter.
Activist Anna Shahnazaryan, for her part, saw parallels in the DAPL struggle to the lengthy fight of Armenian environmental activist against the exploitation of the Amulsar gold mine.
“The consequences of Amulsar's exploitation would be irreversible. We are pointing this out here because past and present US ambassadors have been showing major support to the implementation of this project. People in North Dakota are fighting for their water and sacred sites; we are doing the same,” the demonstrator said.