"Riot Boosting" Protest Planned Before Federal Judge Hears Motions

Jun 11, 2019

Mark Winegar, South Dakota Chairman for Sierra Club
Credit Victoria Wicks

Activists are gathering in Rapid City to protest the "riot boosting" law passed at the end of the 2019 legislative session. The legislation is the subject of a hearing to be held on Wednesday, June 11, at the federal courthouse in Rapid City.

At the request of Governor Kristi Noem, lawmakers pushed the bill through to address protests against the Keystone XL pipeline. It holds protest supporters civilly and criminally liable if a riot breaks out.

Several groups sued in federal court to stop that law from going into effect.

One of them is the Sierra Club, whose South Dakota chairman traveled to Rapid City for the federal hearing.

Mark Winegar says the wording of the law is too broad.

"You know, it's not just that the Sierra Club could get sued, or that Dakota Rural Action could get sued," Winegar says. "Your grandmother could get sued. You know, your uncle. Your daughter. Anybody who talks about these problems enough that it inspires somebody to go march or demonstrate against them. So we're all in this together."

Other plaintiffs are NDN Collective, Dakota Rural Action, Black Hills Clean Water Alliance, and Indigenous Environmental Network, all represented by the ACLU.

Protestors plan to gather at 11:30 a.m. at NDN Collective headquarters on East Main and later march to the courthouse for a rally. The hearing begins at 3 p.m. MT.