Law enforcement officers are moving in to remove pipeline protesters from private land in North Dakota. Tensions began to escalate Thursday as hundreds of police in riot gear prepared to remove the Dakota Access Pipeline protesters from their camp.
Journalist Jason Patinkin tweeted that, “Protesters are burning tires, logs and other objects sending smoke onto the roadway.” The FAA has restricted flights over the Cannonball area until Nov 5, and more than 260 protesters have been arrested over the last few weeks.
Fire spreading through the straw bales pic.twitter.com/7AzsZM3UKJ
— Caroline Grueskin (@cgrueskin) October 27, 2016
For days, police have been saying they have the manpower to go in and end this, but they wanted to do everything they could first to find a solution.
A deputy with the Morton County Sheriff’s Office told local media that they’ve reached out to the camps for a ‘common sense way’ to deal with this in the courts, and asked them numerous times to move back to the main camp near Fort Rice, and leave the private property. He added that in the 2 1/2 months this has been going on, the only time they engaged with the protesters is when they went onto a site and assaulted others on private property.
— Renae C Mitchell (@RenaeCartierM) October 27, 2016
The sheriff’s office says that Energy Transfer Partners, the developer of the pipeline that stretches from ND to Illinois, has a right of way for construction on the site. Opponents argue that the pipeline project won approval “without a proper environmental study”. They worry their drinking water could become contaminated if the pipeline leaks into the Missouri River, Huff Post reported.
Police were attempting earlier to remove an illegal blockade on Morton County Road 134, where protesters are preventing farmers and ranchers from getting to their fields. Not to mention, they say, this poses a huge public safety hazard for other residents. Officials say Hwy 1806 is still shut down between Ft. Rice and Cannonball. Rt.com reports that construction on the pipeline has “resumed within sight of the confrontation on the state highway.”
The Standing Rock Sioux tribe has been leading the protest since August. According to rt.com, tribe leaders have agreed to provide their land to “relocate the unauthorized camp from the US Army Corps of Engineers property for the winter.”
People have been coming here from other states like Oklahoma and South Dakota to join the local protesters. But deputies say the people of ND have a right to move freely to and from their homes. Police say the last thing they want is a confrontation, but the rule of law has to be enforced at some point.
The local sheriff’s department told KFYRTV that “numerous counties, cities, state agencies and out-of-state law enforcement are assisting in the operation.”
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