A cop holds a taser to the neck of a Lakota man who was attempting to block two Budweiser trucks from entering White Clay, Nebraska.

Many of the people of the Pine Ridge reservation have been focusing a lot lately on shutting down the town of White Clay, Nebraska, just off the reservation. Existing only to sell beer and liquor, largely to people suffering from alcoholism, White Clay profits from addiction and death. Alcoholism causes rampant social problems on Pine Ridge and elsewhere, such as abuse of children and deaths from drunk driving.

People gathered at the Zero Tolerance Camp at the edge of the reservation, bordering White Clay. Here, people have been camping out to maintain a continued presence, and holding weekly blockades to stop trucks from bringing in alcohol. On Monday, people joined together to stop the beer trucks from delivering.

Things escalated quickly after the arrival of President of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, Bryan V. Brewer, Sr. As the beer trucks arrived, he marched in the center of the crowd as it moved down the street into White Clay. Police approached him and, after a brief interaction, arrested him with no explanation of what he was being charged with. The crowd surrounded the cop car for several minutes before allowing it to drive away as Brewer motioned for them to step aside.

As people marched to block the beer trucks, police held tasers to people’s hearts and necks, violently pulled people’s hair, wrestled people to the ground, and forcefully pushed people. Crowds gathered around, screaming to let them go. We saw how, in White Clay, brutality was the first resort of the police although the Lakota people had no recourse other than direct action to stop White Clay from plaguing their people. But people held their ground, and the two Budweiser trucks that had come into White Clay never made their deliveries that day. Together, we all let out a massive cheer when the trucks finally drove away.

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