— New Day (@NewDay) December 5, 2016
On the Monday, Dec. 5 edition of CNN‘s “New Day,” political commentator Van Jones boldly compared the recent North Dakota Pipeline protests and subsequent victory to Black people’s historic march on Selma.
In the clip from the broadcast, Jones said that the DAPL protests were not only a fight for Native Americans, but it also was a fight for clean water that could affect millions located along the Missouri River.
“You have the Native Americans … the original Americans that feel that this government has not been a friend to them,” Jones says. “And suddenly, you have not only their rights have been jeopardized by this pipeline, but it turns out that millions of Americans downstream would also be affected by a spill.”
Since April 2016, the Standing Rock Sioux, other Native American tribes and environmentalists have protested the building of the Dakota Access Pipeline, claiming it will be built on sacred grounds and that potential spills could contaminate drinking water.
Federal officials halted the construction of the pipeline Sunday, Dec. 4. This came after an estimated 2,000 veterans arrived over the weekend to support environmentalists in protesting the pipeline’s construction. In an announcement Sunday, the Army Corps of Engineers stated that it is looking into alternative routes for the 1,170-mile pipeline project to avoid having it cross the Missouri River.
Jones said Sunday’s announcement was a historic victory for the protesters.
“This feels like Selma. It feels like Montgomery,” he says. “It feels like a time when a group of Black folks from the South no one knew stood up and the world stood with them.”