STANDING ROCK, N.D. — The protests in North Dakota have become increasingly aggressive, and individuals arrested are from 43 states, D.C. and Canada according to the Morton County Sheriff’s Department.
LET previously reported the tension between protesters and law enforcement over disputed territory near the Dakota Access pipeline.
Yesterday, NBC News reported that police in riot gear fired rubber projectiles and used pepper spray on demonstrators — who call themselves water protectors — on the shoreline of the Cantapeta Creek, just north of the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation.
After a few relatively peaceful days at the campground where thousands have gathered to demonstrate against a controversial North Dakota oil pipeline, demonstrators put out calls on social media to “make your way to the river” for a “river action,” but to do so “in prayer.”
The protestors hit with rubber projectiles claimed all was calm, but a confrontation erupted after law enforcement dismantled a wooden bridge that demonstrators constructed to access what they consider a sacred site according the NBC report.
In a press release, the Morton County Sheriff’s Department said it used “less-than-lethal ammunition to control the situation” when a man threw bottles at officers on the police line and when another charged the police line. “Officers also deployed pepper spray and tear gas to disperse the group of protesters who came across the water and camp at officers,” the release said.
According to MCSD public information officer, the police remained there “to prevent criminal trespass on private property.” Their Facebook page said the following:
Authorities have made 416 arrests for crimes related to illegal protest activities since August 10th in Morton County. Only 8.4% of those arrested are from North Dakota. Individuals arrested are from 43 states, D.C. and Canada.
The Facebook page also shows video of what they describe as “Molotov Cocktails” being thrown during demonstrations.
Morton County called the situation a “standoff” and, in a press release, stated “protesters involved in this activity are violating numerous federal and state laws.”
Photo Source Morton County Sheriff’s Department