Drone Shot, Road Reopens At Dakota Access Pipeline Protest
MORTON COUNTY, N.D. (CNN) — Demonstrations against construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline ramped up over the weekend, resulting in dozens of arrests and a highway closure, authorities in North Dakota said.
About 300 protesters trespassed Saturday on private property three miles west of State Highway 1806, along the pipeline right of way, the Morton County Sheriff’s Department said.
Eighty-three were arrested and charged with criminal trespass and engaging in a riot.
The protesters “engaged in escalated unlawful tactics and behavior,” such as using bicycle locks and makeshift handcuffs to attach themselves to construction equipment and vehicles, the department said.
Some cut holes in doors and put their arms through them covered in concrete casts, fusing their arms to the door.
The demonstrations continued Sunday, leading to the closure of Highway 1806 in both directions as hundreds of people blocked the road, sheriff’s spokeswoman Donnell Preskey said.
The highway later reopened after protesters removed a blockade, officials said.
“There are a few hundred protesters who have set up teepees and other things in the area,” Preskey said. “It’s not calm at all.”
What each side wants:
The arrests are the latest in a months-long standoff between opponents of the pipeline and law enforcement. About 20 protesters, including actress Shailene Woodley, were arrested October 10 in the same area.
Other prominent figures arrested at pipeline protests include “Democracy Now!” host Amy Goodman and Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein.
The 1,172-mile pipeline would stretch from the oil-rich Bakken Formation — a vast underground deposit where Montana and North Dakota meet Canada — southeast into South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois.
Tribe fights construction of pipeline:
After the pipeline is completed, it would shuttle 470,000 barrels of crude oil a day, according to the developer, Energy Access Partners. From Illinois, the oil could go to markets and refineries across the Midwest, East Coast and Gulf Coast.
Protesters say the pipeline will damage the environment and affect historically significant Native American tribal lands. The Standing Rock Sioux tribe, whose reservation in North Dakota is near the pipeline route, and other tribes oppose the project.
Demonstrations began to grow in size in late summer, becoming more consistent.
The standoffs between law enforcement and demonstrators have led to allegations from both sides that the other is using increasingly aggressive tactics to make their point.