Armed federal agents clashed with peaceful protestors along the US-Mexico border on Monday, with videos from the scene posted to social media showing officials drawing their guns and knocking down indigenous O’odham demonstrators near Arizona.
The indigenous protestors were demonstrating against President Donald Trump’s border wall construction in a region they considered sacred.
Protestors entered a construction site near the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, the Washington Post reported, causing the construction to efforts to be temporarily halted until officials with the US Border Patrol and National Park Service arrived on the scene.
The US agents instructed the O’odham protestors to leave the construction area where the group had staked out for several hours, reportedly burning sage and praying alongside the president’s border wall.
Protestors ignored their demands and continued demonstrating against the border wall construction, according to the Arizona Republic, with one demonstrator telling the agents: “You don’t control the border, you terrorize everyone here from Texas to California and everywhere in between.”
Videos posted to social media showed a disturbing scene in which US officials were repeatedly shoving and throwing the indigenous protestors to the ground, with stun guns drawn at unarmed activists.
The incident occurred near Quitobaquito Springs in Pima County, and was captured by journalist Lucas Mullikin, who posted videos of the confrontation to Twitter.
The National Park Service told Arizona Public Media that the site was closed “in response to public safety concerns associated with border infrastructure construction activities”, though it did not provide any further details about the violent incident.
“We welcome our visitors’ right to demonstrate, while also taking their safety seriously,” the National Park Service statement continued. “Implementing the closure protects the public from potential exposure to heavy machinery and construction activities.”
The US Border Patrol has not responded to requests for comment.
While the Trump administration has faced significant legal challenges building virtually any amount of new construction throughout the region, it has also faced increased protests from civil and environmental rights groups.
Building the border wall in the area considered sacred by the indigenous group is part of a long-promised campaign vow by the president to construct a “big, beautiful wall” spanning the entirety of the US-Mexico border.