TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - A ceremony to pray for sacred sites and graves demolished during border wall construction ended in the arrests of indigenous protesters.
Supporters gathered at the Pima County Jail on Monday, Oct. 12, where they continue waiting for those 12 people arrested by the Arizona Department of Public Safety to be released and said they refused to leave until everyone is freed. Protesters said what started as a peaceful call of action early Monday at the Highway 85 Border Patrol checkpoint, ended in tear gas, rubber bullets, and multiple arrests. A representative of Tohono O’odham nation tells KOLD News 13 police shot a man in the chest during the prayer ceremony and allegedly took children away from their parents.
During their demonstration, O’odham Land and Water Protectors blocked both lanes of the highway at the checkpoint. They said it was in solidarity for the daily violence indigenous people experience from Border Patrol.
“This wall is a wall of hate. This wall is a disgrace to us as people. It’s undug human artifacts, our ancestors. They’re draining our natural sacred spring. Not only to humanity but animals that migrate back and forth of that area. There’s no words,” said a supporter outside the Pima County Jail.
DPS did not immediately release any details as to why the people were arrested or what led to the alleged use of force. Customs and Border Protection said no one from the demonstration is in their custody.