Dakota Accesses Pipeline protesters evicted, arrested

UPDATE:

Authorities say they arrested 76 Dakota Access oil pipeline protesters after they refused to leave a camp set up on private land.

Morton County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Rob Keller says they repeatedly warned the protesters to leave the camp.

On Wednesday afternoon, officers moved in and evicted the protesters. They were transported to several county jails.

Law enforcement officials say they have made 696 arrests during protest activity since August, 2016.

ORIGINAL:

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Law enforcement officers who evicted about 40 Dakota Access oil pipeline opponents from a camp they’d set up on private land have arrested dozens of the protesters.

Morton County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Rob Keller did not immediately have an exact total of arrests. He said there were no reports of injuries.

North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven says the Acting Secretary of the Army has directed the Army Corps of Engineers to proceed with an easement necessary to complete the Dakota Access pipeline.

Hoeven issued a statement Tuesday after he says Acting Army Secretary Robert Speer informed him of the decision. Hoeven spokesman Don Canton added the easement “isn’t quite issued yet, but they plan to approve it” within days.

Construction of the $3.8 billion project is finished except for a section under the Missouri River at Lake Oahe in North Dakota. The pipeline has been the target of protests for months.

The camp was set up on Wednesday, Feb. 1, on higher ground near the protesters’ flood-prone main camp in southern North Dakota. Protesters in Facebook posts described what they called the “Last Child” camp as “peaceful assembly” on land they believe rightfully belongs to American Indians under treaties.

The main camp once housed thousands but is now down to about 300 people. The tribe has told those in camp to leave, and the camp is being cleaned up in advance of spring flooding season.

Authorities said protesters were trespassing on private property owned by the pipeline developer.

Protest spokesman Chase Iron Eyes couldn’t be reached for comment because his cellphone wasn’t accepting messages.