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Hundreds In San Antonio Protest Dakota Access Pipeline

Hundreds of protestors marched through downtown San Antonio Tuesday night to oppose construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. It was one of hundreds of demonstrations around the country Tuesday in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in North Dakota.

Tribal leaders say the pipeline could pollute water supplies and destroy sacred sites. They asked people across the country to mobilize in a Day of Action today to stop the project. A large crowd gathered at a Bank of America in downtown San Antonio and marched to the Alamo.

"We’re protecting the water against the oil companies," says Scotty Jimenez, a member of the Kickapoo Traditional Tribe from Eagle Pass.

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Credit Aaron Schrank / Texas Public Radio

"My understanding is that water is life. I stand in great support of my native brothers and sisters."

Many of the protests nationwide are being held outside of Army Corps of Engineers offices. That agency announced Monday it would delay deciding whether to allow the pipeline company to tunnel under the Missouri River. In San Antonio, protestors like Eres Gomez hold signs that read “People over pipelines” and “Stand with Standing Rock.”

"The most important thing is really just bringing everyone together here like this and sending our energy, sending our love over there, sending our love into Mother Earth as we take our steps and as we march. And, hopefully, we can maybe change the hearts and change the minds of people who are making these decisions right now."

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Credit Aaron Schrank / Texas Public Radio

At the back of the crowd, Karla Aguilar burns sage to clear away bad energy as protestors move through downtown.  

"I am a member of the Tap Pilam, The Coahuiltecan Nation, which is a non-federally recognized tribe," Aguilar says. 

She says the Dakota Access Pipeline should matter to anyone who cares about treaty rights or the environment.

"It’s not just this pipeline, right? We have all sorts of projects right under our nose. Come on, we’re in Texas. It’s the energy capitol of the world. We have a responsibility locally to make similar demands about clean water, clean air and clean environment," Aguilar says.

Protestors want the Obama administration to shut down the pipeline for good, but the Dallas-based pipeline builder Energy Transfer Partners filed a motion in federal court Tuesday asking for permission to continue.