UPDATE: Authorities begin to remove North Dakota pipeline protesters

Protesters against the construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline burn sage amid the fog surrounding the protest camp near Cannon Ball, N.D., on Wednesday. Protesters believe law enforcement officers could take quick action to remove them from private land owned by the pipeline company. (AP Photo/James MacPherson)
Protesters against the construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline burn sage amid the fog surrounding the protest camp near Cannon Ball, N.D., on Wednesday. Protesters believe law enforcement officers could take quick action to remove them from private land owned by the pipeline company. (AP Photo/James MacPherson)

CANNON BALL, N.D. (AP) – The Latest on the Dakota Access oil pipeline protest (all times local):

9:30 p.m.

Authorities say more than 100 people have been arrested during an operation to force Dakota Access pipeline protesters off private land.

Donnell Hushka, a spokeswoman for the Morton County, North Dakota, Sheriff’s Department, says as of 8:15 p.m. Thursday there have been 117 protesters arrested.

She says Morton County will be using other jails to house people. She says those arrested for misdemeanors can bond out, but those facing felonies will have to be held for initial court appearances.

Hushka says the possessions of those arrested are being collected and protesters can identify the belongings and claim them later.

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7:15 p.m.

Charges are pending against a woman who allegedly fired three shots at law officers during an operation to force Dakota Access pipeline protesters off private land.

State Emergency Services spokeswoman Cecily Fong says the woman was being placed under arrest when she pulled out a .38-caliber pistol and fired three times, narrowly missing a sheriff’s deputy. Officers did not return fire.

It wasn’t immediately clear exactly when the incident happened.

Law enforcement officers moved in on Thursday to evict protesters from a camp on private land owned by the pipeline developer. Several protesters were arrested.

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6:40 p.m.

A spokesman for protesters opposing the Dakota Access oil pipeline says they will continue efforts to block the project despite being forced from a camp they set up on land owned by the pipeline developer.

Cody Hall says protesters likely will set up a new camp to the east, on federally owned land that’s also in the path of construction.

The main camp of the protesters is on land owned by the Army Corps of Engineers. The agency has taken no steps to evict protesters from that camp, citing free speech reasons.

Authorities did evict the protesters from the camp on private land, arresting several in the process. Hall says it won’t be so easy to move the protesters off a new camp on the pipeline path if it’s on federal land.

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6:20 p.m.

North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple is pleased with the success of an effort to oust Dakota Access pipeline protesters from private land where they had set up a camp to try to block construction.

Dalrymple says the operation that involved 200 law officers and soldiers was “well-handled from start to finish” and resulted in no serious injuries.

Authorities launched the operation at midday to oust the protesters, a day after they refused to leave voluntarily from the camp they set up on land owned by the pipeline developer. The protesters were cleared from the camp by late afternoon.

Dalrymple says the protesters were given “more than ample time” to move on their own, and that those who didn’t leave voluntarily needed to be dealt with “as we have.”

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6:11 p.m.

Morton County Sheriff’s Department: One woman has been arrested for firing a weapon at the police line near Highway 1806.

6:11 p.m.

Morton County Sheriff’s Department: Shots have been fired but law enforcement is NOT involved. There have been two separate shooting incidents.

6:10 p.m.

Morton County Sheriff’s Department: BREAKING: Shots reported to have been fired at Backwater Bridge but NO LAW ENFORCEMENT were involved. When we receive more information, we will update.

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5:30 p.m.

Authorities say they have ousted Dakota Access pipeline protesters from a camp they had set up on land owned by the pipeline developer.

Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier says authorities will maintain a presence in the area for the time being to keep protesters off private land and prevent them from blocking a nearby highway.

About 200 police and soldiers launched the operation at midday to force out the protesters, a day after they refused to leave voluntarily from the camp.

Kirchmeier said late in the afternoon that the camp was secure, though officers were still dealing with some protesters in the surrounding area.

Kirchmeier said there had been 16 arrests and that total would increase.

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4:50 p.m.

The governors of three states crossed by the Dakota Access pipeline are pressing the federal government to allow construction to continue, saying further delay would negatively impact their states and citizens.

The Republican executives of Iowa and the Dakotas said in a Tuesday letter to the Army Corps of Engineers that pipeline construction delays will adversely affect landowners and farmers in their states.

The Army is reviewing concerns raised by Native American tribes protesting the project. Federal agencies have ordered a temporary halt to construction on Corps land around and underneath Lake Oahe – one of six reservoirs on the Missouri.

Govs. Jack Dalrymple of North Dakota, Dennis Daugaard of South Dakota and Terry Branstad of Iowa say it’s their understanding the project meets the federal requirements necessary to move forward.

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4:20 p.m.

Authorities trying to force Dakota Access protesters from a camp on private land in the path of pipeline construction are firing bean bags and pepper spray.

State Emergency Services spokeswoman Cecily Fong says officers are responding to “aggressive” tactics by protesters, including some throwing rocks at officers and threatening them.

Fong said she wasn’t aware of any serious injuries to either officers or protesters.

A male protester was seen holding his leg after what an Associated Press reporter described as a loud boom. A protester with a medic bag tended to the man’s leg, and he was up and walking a short time later.

Fong said she wasn’t aware of any serious injuries to either officers or protesters.

Fong didn’t immediately have details of what happened.

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3:50 p.m.

Authorities say that once they clear an oil pipeline protest camp on private land it will be up to the company building the pipeline to secure the site going forward.

The protesters set up the camp over the weekend on land owned by Energy Transfer Partners, the pipeline company trying to complete the project. The erected teepees and tents and brought personal property to the site.

State Emergency Services spokeswoman Cecily Fong says once the protesters are cleared from the site, it will be turned over to pipeline developer since it’s the company’s property. She says decisions on what to do with the protesters’ property will be up to the company.

Company spokeswoman Vicki Granado didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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3 p.m.

Authorities have begun arresting some Dakota Access pipeline protesters at a camp the demonstrators set up on private land in the path of pipeline construction.

An Associated Press reporter says law enforcement officers formed a horseshoe-like loop around the camp in North Dakota.

Several protesters were arrested on the perimeter of the camp as authorities slowly moved in.

Police and soldiers launched the operation at midday to oust the protesters, a day after they refused to leave voluntarily.

Many of the protesters were openly defying the authorities, yelling at them as they approached. Others were taking part in prayer circles.

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12:20 p.m.

Authorities say they have begun taking steps to remove Dakota Access pipeline protesters camped on private land in the path of the pipeline in North Dakota.

The Morton County Sheriff’s office says law enforcement began the operation at 11:15 a.m. local time Thursday, a day after protesters refused to leave voluntarily.

About 200 activists supporting the Standing Sioux Tribe moved onto the site last weekend, setting up teepees and tents and saying the land is rightfully theirs under a more than century-old treaty.

But the pipeline’s developer, Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners, says the protesters are trespassing and demands they leave.

The almost-complete $3.8 billion pipeline passes through North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa to Patoka, Illinois. Opponents worry about its negative effect on drinking water, as well as the potential destruction of cultural artifacts

More than 260 people have been arrested since demonstrations began in August.

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11:15 a.m.

Authorities have issued arrest warrants for two Dakota Access pipeline protesters who allegedly were involved in an attack on three journalists covering the months-long protest in south central North Dakota.

Authorities say the Oct. 18 attack on the journalists involved protesters taking a reporter’s microphone, blocking a vehicle in which the journalists locked themselves, and shaking and hitting the vehicle. Law officers eventually rescued the journalists after they called 911.

James White, of Fort Yates, is charged with felony restraint and reckless endangerment, along with fleeing police.

Kareen Lewis is charged with felony restraint. Court documents don’t list a hometown for him, and documents don’t list an attorney for either man.

Authorities say they’re still trying to identify three other protesters considered “people of interest” in the case.

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10:20 a.m.

Protesters against the Dakota Access pipeline are gearing up for a confrontation with authorities over a patch of private land on the pipeline route.

Protesters constructed two barricades Thursday on a highway near the camp they have established on property owned by the pipeline’s developer. They barricades are made of tires, hay bales, logs, plywood and barbed wire.

Protesters also are moving from their main camp, which is on federally owned land, to the camp on the private property. Riders on horseback are monitoring the movements of authorities.

On Wednesday, authorities gathered in the area with heavy equipment including Humvees and buses and demanded the protesters leave the private land. The protesters refused.

Protester Robert Eder says if authorities clear out the camp, “there will be twice as many tomorrow.”

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6:45 a.m.

The Federal Aviation Administration is restricting flights over an area of North Dakota where law enforcement and people protesting the construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline are bracing for a confrontation.

The restriction went into effect Wednesday and will last until Nov. 5.

Authorities say only aircraft affiliated with the North Dakota Tactical Operation Center are allowed within a radius of about 4 ½ miles of Cannon Ball, where the protesters have set up camp. The FAA has also banned drones in the airspace.

A months-long dispute over the pipeline reached a crisis point at the weekend when some 200 protesters set up camp on land owned by pipeline developer Energy Transfer Partners. On Wednesday, authorities gathered in the area with heavy equipment including Humvees and buses and demanded they leave. The protesters refused.

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12:10 a.m.

Protesters trying to stop construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline are bracing for a confrontation with police after the demonstrators refused to leave private land in the pipeline’s path.

A months-long dispute over the four-state, $3.8 billion pipeline reached a crisis point when some 200 protesters set up camp on land owned by pipeline developer Energy Transfer Partners.

Law enforcement officers demanded that the protesters leave on Wednesday and they refused. It appeared that only thick fog and cloudy skies kept a large contingent of law enforcement officers from moving in. Officials have frequently monitored protesters by air.

Cass County Sheriff Paul Laney said Wednesday that the rule of law must be enforced.

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