Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect members of the National Park Service responded to the protest
ORGAN PIPE CACTUS NATIONAL MONUMENT, Arizona (Border Report) — A group of protesters shouted and banged on a section of newly built border wall despite federal officials telling them not to Saturday at this national wildlife refuge in southwestern Arizona.
About 500 people rallied in opposition to the construction of 32 miles of new border wall at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, a remote desert national park. Although a half dozen National Park Service agents told the protesters that they must stay back 60 feet from the new border wall, the group breached a dirt road adjacent to the new wall and began banging on it, chanting against its construction and even put their hands and signs through the wall.
About a mile of new 30-foot-tall border wall has so far been built in this desert park where several endangered species live, and where construction crews hired by U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are working round the clock to add on miles quickly.
Laiken Jordahl, an organizer of Saturday’s event, told Border Report that there were no arrests of protesters at the event, which he considered “peaceful.” However, Border Report did see angry confrontations between some members of the Hia Ced O’odham tribe, who claim that U.S. officials are building a wall on their ancestral lands and on the remains of their ancestors who are buried throughout this national park.
Members of the tribe also are very upset about the plowing of saguaro cactus, and the organ pipe cactus (for which the park is named), as well as ocotillo. And they are upset about the trash left on the ground by construction crews in what they say had been pristine desert lands.
Here are additional photos from Saturday’s event, as well as new video courtesy of Laiken Jordahl (above). All photos are by Border Report’s Sandra Sanchez:
Sandra Sanchez can be reached at Ssanchez@borderreport.com.