06:42 GMT18 June 2021
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    Minnesota Freedom Fund (MFF), seeking to mitigate perceived inequities in the US cash-bail system, when those who cannot afford to pay the full amount in cash for bail must wait in jail until trial or borrow money, was backed by Kamala Harris last year in a tweet before she was chosen as Joe Biden’s running mate in the 2020 presidential elections.

    Minnesota Freedom Fund (MFF), that Vice President Kamala Harris voiced support for in 2020, has been used to assist activists arrested during ongoing environmental demonstrations in Minnesota.

    Conservation groups that oversee protests against the Line 3 pipeline project in northern Minnesota have been urging people seek bail assistance from the Minnesota Freedom Fund (MFF).

    Established in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 2016, the organization pays bail for people who have been arrested and are awaiting trial.

    “The Minnesota Freedom Fund has committed to supporting the movement for all bail needs,” the Pipeline Legal Action Network, which supports the legal needs of the project protesters, posted on its website.

    Furthermore, those who were unable to attend the protests, have been urged by Conservation organization 350 Rutland County, which has organized Line 3 demonstrations, to donate money to the MFF.

    Vice President Kamala Harris came under fire last year when she tweeted her support for the MFF on 1 June 1. Amid the Black Lives Matter protests, triggered by the death in police custody of black man George Floyd, Harris, at the time not yet chosen as then-presidential candidate Joe Biden’s running mate, tweeted a link to an MFF donation page on ActBlue.

    ​She urged her Twitter followers to donate to the MFF to help Black Lives Matter (BLM) protesters post bail.
    Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), went on Twitter in August to slam the fact that members of Biden’s campaign staff had donated to bail and rioters were getting out of jail.

    ​He denounced Harris “urging supporters to do the same thing.”
    Furthermore, according to The Washington Post, weeks after George Floyd’s death, MFF had raised $35 million, in part because of tweets such as the one by Harris, who was already Democratic vice-presidential nominee at the time of the outlet's story.

    Last year, after Harris endorsed the MFF, the fund had bailed out six men accused of domestic violence, while assisting individuals accused of a range of other crimes including assaults and stabbings, reported the Daily Caller.

    VP Kamala Harris hasn’t deleted her tweet with its embedded link, which directs people to the fundraising portal.

    Line 3 Protests

    The Line 3 oil sands pipeline is owned by the Canadian company Enbridge, and has been operating since 1968.

    Enbridge, which transports 25 percent of the total crude oil produced in North America, operates about 17,127 miles of pipeline in the US. Line 3 pipeline expansion is set to bring nearly a million barrels of tar sands daily from Alberta, Canada to Superior, Wisconsin, and Enbridge is more than halfway through constructing its $4 billion replacement, according to MPR News.

    The project presupposes replacing the existing 34-inch pipe with new 36-inch pipe for 13 miles in North Dakota, 337 miles in Minnesota, and 14 miles in Wisconsin. As indicated in Enbridge's applications, the purpose of the Line 3 Pipeline Replacement Project is to replace the Minnesota portion of the existing Line 3 pipeline to “address known integrity risks”.

    Around 200 protesters were arrested as they attempted to stop the construction of Enbridge’s Line 3 replacement project, with some chaining themselves to pipeline construction equipment. The activists argue the project threatens the pristine waterways that Indigenous Native American people depend on for their livelihoods.

    According to the Northern Lights Task Force (NLTF), around 180 people have been arrested and booked while 68 have been issued citations in connection with the Line 3 protests since Monday.

    The NLTF, comprising several Minnesota police departments, was established to oversee law and order amid the pipeline protests.

    President Joe Biden signed an executive order upon taking office to stop the Keystone XL pipeline, an oil system in Canada and the United States, commissioned in 2010 and owned by TC Energy, that was at the heart of multiple protests, particularly by Indigenous peoples, who argued possible damage to sacred sites, pollution, and water contamination, which could lead to health risks among their communities. Biden is yet to weigh in on the Minnesota pipeline.


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