I think government paid more attention to them. More recently, celebrities and public figures like actor Shailene Woodley, actor Mark Ruffalo and civil rights activist Jesse Jackson have traveled to North Dakota in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux. I hope it can come to a peaceful conclusion soon where no one gets hurt and some sort of compromise can be made, but I am fearful of the worst case scenario as all sides dig in.
Protesters are making a difference because they are refusing to give up on this cause that is so important for all the surrounding people it would devastatingly effect. The longer the protesters are there, the longer it will take for the pipeline to even be built at all or maybe they will stop it altogether. It is also raising awareness all over the country so we can see what they are trying to do that would impact people in their own homes.
The pipeline protesters are helping to keep the media attention on the issues and presenting a peaceful way to challenge the pipeline. The protesters may have less impact as the winter weather approaches and weather conditions become an issue. It is important for peaceful action to remind all Americans to re-look at our priorities and environmental decisions.
In my opinion, the protesters are not making a difference because they have not been able to convince legislators and the executive branch to change their minds. Holding up signs and chanting slogans in front of television cameras will not effect changes in policy unless the protesters reach out directly to their elected representatives and engage them in dialogue.