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Police carry out mass arrests to end Dakota oil pipeline protest

Which Minnesota Agencies Are in North Dakota And Why? Patch PM Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Calls on Department of Justice to Investigate Alleged 'Law Enforcement Abuses'
Zaira Scannapieco | 29 Ottobre, 2016, 01:26

Dakota Access oil pipeline protesters burn debris as officers close in to force them from a camp on private land in the path of pipeline construction, October 27, 2016 near Cannon Ball, N.D.

Demonstrators stand next to burning tires as armed soldiers and law enforcement officers assemble on Thursday to force Dakota Access pipeline protesters off private land where they had camped to block construction.

"Protesters escalated unlawful behaviour this weekend by setting up illegal roadblocks, trespassing onto private property and establishing an encampment (actions that) forced law enforcement to respond at this time", Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier said.

After Wednesday's negotiations with protesters fell through, authorities from more than a dozen counties dismantled the makeshift camps and roadblocks on private land along Highway1806 and County Road 134 near Cannon Ball, N.D., removing anyone who refused to leave.

With construction of the Dakota Access pipeline they are fighting continuing in the distance, protesters who have drawn worldwide attention to their cause lost ground Thursday to authorities armed with batons, pepper spray and a sound cannon in what was becoming a violent confrontation with reports of gunfire.

Clashes between Morton County law enforcement and protesters escalated on Thursday during a tense all-day standoff, as police pushed protesters off the private land where the pipeline is slated for construction, forcing activists to retreat back to the camps that have sprung up since the protest began in April.

The months-long dispute over the four-state, $3.8 billion pipeline stems from protesters who say ongoing construction of the four-state (1,172-mile) pipeline will threaten the environment and destroy Native American culturally significant sites.

Police in the U.S. state of North Dakota engaged in a tense standoff with oil-pipeline protesters today, attempting to clear them from a public road and off private property. Tribal activists streaming live videos of the day's events say a protester on horseback was also shot.

Members of the Standing Rock Sioux asked Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Thursday (Oct 27) to oppose the pipeline. Grassrope said he has been living on the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe reservation for the past five years.

Sirens blared and officials told protesters over a loudspeaker to move out.

Speaking with the Huffington Post, Indigenous Environmental Network organizer Dallas Goldtooth claimed that an unspecified number of protesters had been arrested by 2 PM. Additionally, the Seattle Times reported that a helicopter was seen assessing the protesters' blockade from the air. The tribe sued the US Army Corps of Engineers after it approved the project. Danny Grassrope, 24, told ABC News Saturday that he was arrested at the protest site and witnessed police officers spraying protesters while they were praying. Activists say more than 300 officers moved in, with all-terrain vehicles, armored cars, and military-grade Humvees.

The area authorities were clearing on Thursday is just to the north of a more permanent and larger encampment on federally-owned land where hundreds of protesters, including Native Americans from across North America, environmentalists and some celebrities, have lived through the summer and fall.

Protesters had designated a segment of Highway 1806 as their "no surrender" line in efforts to keep the pipeline from crossing the nearby Missouri River.

"Remain peaceful and prayerful and don't react to law enforcement aggression". The tribe said protesters reported that six people were bitten by security dogs and at least 30 people were pepper-sprayed.

Clinton has so far not taken a public position on the issue.

"We won't step down from this fight".

The $3.7 billion, 1,100-mile (1,770 km) Dakota Access would be the first to carry crude from the Bakken shale, a vast oil formation in North Dakota, Montana and parts of Canada, to an existing pipeline in IL through which it could be shipped to refineries along the U.S. Gulf Coast.

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