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Law enforcement officials prepared to remove 200 protestors trying to halt the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline on Wednesday after the group refused to leave private lands.
The company constructing the pipeline owns the land occupied by the demonstrators, according to the Associated Press.
North Dakota’s highway patrol and the National Guard approached the protestors to ask them to vacate the area, but they refused. Both groups of authorities left afterwards.
"We have the resources. We could go down there at any time," Sheriff Paul Laney of Cass County said. "We're trying not to."
Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier also insisted that police forces wanted to reach a peaceful resolution with the protestors, but that the authorities “are here to enforce the law as needed.”
Reverend Jesse Jackson flew to North Dakota on Wednesday to support the demonstrators’ efforts.
The Baptist minister and civil rights activist said he supports the tribe and their rights. Jackson added that he came "to pray together, protest together and if necessary go to jail together."
Energy Transfer Partners, the company building the $3.8 billion pipeline said it would not tolerate the “lawless behavior” of protestors trespassing private lands. Recently, an arsonist—presumably against the pipeline—set fire to equipment used by contractors building DAPL, causing $2 million in damage.
Around 200 people moved to the site earlier this month to protest Dakota Access, which will link North Dakota’s oil to five other states.
The AP reported that local officials did not have the human resources to remove the protestors from the private land immediately, which prompted them to contact police stations from neighboring counties and states for reinforcements.
Over the past weekend, local police officers arrested at least 125 people demonstrating against the pipeline, according to Zero Hedge.
Documentarian Deia Schlosberg was recently charged with three felonies for filming activists from Climate Direct Action who vandalized five pipeline valve stations in several states claiming solidarity with the Dakota Access protestors. If found guilty, Schlosberg could face a 45-year prison sentence, though she claims she did not participate in the group’s activities and filmed from public lands at all times.
By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com
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Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…