Groups of U.S. military veterans have already begun arriving at the protest against the Standing Rock oil pipeline to make good on their promise to act as “human shields” for the water protectors.
Despite a mandatory evacuation order issued by North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple citing the harsh weather that has already arrived at the camp, the water protectors have defied orders and said that they will not leave now or by the Dec. 5 deadline given by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
NBC News reports that people have continued to flock to the area. More than 2,000 people have arrived this week despite a blizzard that left more than a foot of snow on the ground.
Those newcomers include large groups of military veterans who have vowed to protect the water protectors if violence breaks out at the camp, located in Cannon Ball, N.D.
According to NBC News, between 2,000 and 2,5000 veterans are expected to show up to the camp by Sunday. The veterans are continuing their mission despite requests from the Morton County, N.D., Sheriff’s Office and a group of North Dakota veterans who have asked that they not join the protests.
Gracy Claymore, 19, told NBC News: “They’re coming to support us, despite this cold. It does make me nervous, though, because I know nobody from the camp will move on Monday as the Corps asked, and the possibility of clashes with the National Guard or police is very real.”
Claymore told NBC News that the blizzard has only deepened the resolve of the water protectors, who take care of one another like community, ensuring that all of the 5,000-6,000 people at the camp have warm shelter through the night.
“The weather hasn’t stopped anyone,” Claymore said. “Everyone is adapting because they know we have to win this fight and save our water.”
Read more at NBC News.