As people across the country continue to criticize President Donald Trump's militarized response to the George Floyd protests, former President Barack Obama's response to the Standing Rock protests is coming under renewed scrutiny. Currently, protests are taking place nationwide, drawing tens of thousands of people. The large demonstrations prompted Trump to announce that he would be "mobilizing all available federal resources, civilian and military, to stop the rioting and looting," leading to now viral scenes of peaceful protesters being tear gassed and shot with rubber bullets.
The Standing Rock protests, meanwhile, were sparked in 2016 in response to the approved construction of Energy Transfer Partners' Dakota Access Pipeline, which was set to run from North Dakota to southern Illinois, posing a threat to the Standing Rock Indian Reservation's drinking water as well as ancient burial grounds and cultural sites. In efforts to remove protesters, attack dogs, water guns, and other measures were used, including pepper spray and tear gas, and police with riot gear and military equipment were brought in. The Obama administration eventually denied a final permit to the pipeline, though in 2017, Trump signed an executive order that reversed the Obama legislation.
The heavy military and police responses to large protests, and the violence they brought, as many have said, points to a much larger problem. Across social media, many people have claimed that the responses show there is no divide between how political parties respond to such demonstrations, while others have used the examples to call for demilitarization of police and the banning of tear gas in the United States. Keep scrolling to see what social media is saying.
“Barack Obama would *never* gas protesters!”
In order: OWS 2011, Ferguson 2014, Baltimore 2015, Standing Rock 2016: pic.twitter.com/D6O1xKR40b— joe biden is a rapist (@CRHinCA) June 3, 2020
Has Obama apologized for letting pregnant women by attacked by wild dogs, fire hoses, and mercenaries at Standing Rock yet?— 🌹 Goody Weaver Cavorting With The Revolution (@goodyweaver) June 3, 2020
Obama says “we” in his essay a lot. As if he wasn’t just president for 8 years. As if he didn’t help to militarize the police force and use it to crack down on BLM, Standing Rock, and Occupy protesters.— cabral (@axcomrade) June 2, 2020
barack obama authorized the use of tear gas on protesters at occupy wall street, standing rock, and ferguson, as well as on migrants at the border. don’t let his presence at the current protests fool you into whitewashing his presidency.— defund the police now! ☭ (@socialistmic) June 6, 2020
Unless Barack Obama apologizes for his treatment of Standing Rock and Occupy protestors at the very beginning of his livestream whatever he has to say is worthless— Amy McGrath is an Amy Cooper Democrat 🍽 (@FlyThaiMMA) June 3, 2020
Some of you are like “racism didn’t exist under Obama” as if he didn’t sign a $38 billion military deal with Apartheid Israel, deport 3 million people, call in the National Guard to Standing Rock, and label BLM protestors “criminals” and “thugs.”— Cop Lives Don’t Matter (@queeralamode) June 7, 2020
words are empty. he fumbled the ball on freddy gray and standing rock. he has no credibility. yes, i know trump is a dictator. it isn't a zero sum game.— Nobody over 17 should eat Takis (@Jaxon95228411) June 1, 2020
This was true as well when @BarackObama said we’ll let things “play out” as Native Americans were tear gassed and worse by cops at Standing Rock. Back then the Resistance crowd was crickets https://t.co/I0sEDSGoda— Jordan (@JordanChariton) June 1, 2020
Yes but also this didn't start with Trump. Obama's actions during the Standing Rock protests were equally heinous.— Mama Luigi 🌹 (@Its_MamaLuigi) June 2, 2020
The state responding with militarised brutality happened under Obama (Ferguson left, Standing Rock right). Let's all be clear that this will not be voted out by swapping Republicans for Democrats. Support for police brutality is a consensus position among America's ruling class. https://t.co/tMOMaQQzio pic.twitter.com/vMHatCk9bm— Liam Bright (@lastpositivist) June 3, 2020
Standing Rock American Indian Reservation, Dakota Pipeline Protests, President Barack Obama. pic.twitter.com/LUcS4Skjvr— Στενή Αυτοάμυνα (@Obscureobjet) June 3, 2020
People love to view Obama’s presidency through rose-colored lenses, but he allowed the tear gassing of Ferguson, Baltimore, Standing Rock, and more protests. He deported more immigrants than any US president. He drone striked Iraqi and Iranian farmers. Stop tamba “better times.”— devin parker (@notdevinparker) June 4, 2020
Remember when Obama unleashed the military on the Standing Rock water protectors, shooting rubber bullets, tear gassing & hosing down American indigenous people in freezing temperatures? Both sides are evil! Stop letting them divide us. It’s US against THEM!— Jess Griffin (@wanderlustyogi) June 4, 2020