The federal government is preparing an aggressive tactical response in anticipation of renewed Keystone XL Pipeline protests—similar to the response to direct action in Standing Rock, where activists fought efforts to construct the Dakota Access Pipeline—documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Montana show.
In Standing Rock, camps set up to resist the pipeline were heavily surveilled and law enforcement used concussion grenades, tear gas, and rubber bullets against activists.
Last year, leaked documents revealed that Energy Transfer Partners, the company building the Dakota Access Pipeline, hired a security firm called TigerSwan to oppose water protectors in collaboration with police in at least five states, The Intercept reported.
Now, it appears activists are preparing for a similar, aggressive response if the Keystone Pipeline moves forward.
The Trump administration renewed orders last year allowing construction of the Keystone Pipeline to continue.
The day before, a Cruz campaign event on Saturday in the town of Columbus was met with tofu-serving protesters from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, prompting a warning from the Republican senator, the Austin American-Statesman reported.
Seizing on the opportunity, Cruz thanked the protesters for bringing the issue to his event.
"You want to talk about an issue to mobilize the people, and I'm talking everybody," he said, drawing laughter from attendees.
In a statement, the animal rights organization said it showed up to protest comments Cruz made a week earlier about how liberals want to change Texas values.
PETA, however, defended tofu in a statement, announcing they would be protesting Cruz's remarks about liberals' culinary intentions and would be handing out samples of the bean curd, barbecue style, outside Cruz's campaign event.